Yet another Republican has spoken out about the absence of evidence so far that massive fraud played a role in President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
“There was no wholesale fraudulent scheme or device in any of these states where the votes were close that could potentially change the results of the election,” Saxby Chambliss, a former U.S. senator from Georgia, said in an interview Thursday.
Of Georgia in particular, where Biden leads by roughly 14,000 votes and where a hand recount is underway, Chambliss said: “I am on the ground and I heard nothing about any kind of harvesting of ballots or fraudulent transactions. Sure, there are going to be isolated situations but not on a wholesale basis.”
Chambliss suggested that it was a mistake for his state’s two Republican senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, to attack Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, calling for his resignation without offering any evidence of wrongdoing.
Raffensperger has declined to repeat Trump’s baseless claims that Biden’s narrow lead in Georgia resulted from fraud, and he has defended the work of local elections officials even as other Republicans have attacked them.
“I think Brad’s doing the right thing by doing the recount and doing it by hand,” Chambliss said.
Loeffler and Perdue are both competing in Jan. 5 runoff elections that will determine control of the Senate. Chambliss said he didn’t know what prompted them to issue their joint statement condemning a fellow Republican, but he said he thinks both of them are now focused on Jan. 5, “the way it should be.”
“If you’re going into a runoff, you want 100 percent unification of your party,” Chambliss said. “You don’t want to get involved in any scenario that is not going to allow for 100 percent unification.”
Chambliss stopped short of saying Trump should concede or allow the transition process and security briefings for Biden to begin. He said he supported Trump’s right to pursue all his legal options to contest the election. But he emphasized that the process must play out in court, and only if new evidence surfaces.
“If you’ve got fraudulent activity, fine, let’s let the court system handle that. The courts are very capable of handling that,” he said.
Chambliss, a two-term senator who retired at the end of 2014, came up through the old GOP establishment of Georgia conservatives. Originally considered an ideological flamethrower — he first won a seat in the House in 1994, serving as a foot soldier in Newt Gingrich’s House — Chambliss morphed into a bipartisan deal-seeker in his final Senate term. He stayed neutral in the GOP primary to succeed him, which Perdue won.