TURES COLUMN: No, Democrats didn’t decide GOP primary

Published 10:30 am Thursday, June 16, 2022

Georgia’s primary election was a success, reporting record turnout. Some of the supporters of losing candidates and those politicians forced into a runoff have complained that Democrats got to vote in the GOP Primary, and have alleged this accounted for the dismal performance of several of Trump’s endorsed candidates. But simple arithmetic will show this is not the case.

Governor Brian Kemp cruised to renomination against former Senator David Perdue with more than 70% of the vote. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Attorney General Chris Carr, Insurance Commissioner John King, and State School Superintendent Richard Woods also won renomination handily (more than 50%+1) without needing a runoff, even though Donald Trump endorsed a rival slate, and even heavily criticized several of these candidates on many occasions

Some were bitterly disappointed. One columnist claimed “Nobody in any election in America gets 74% of the votes. Ever. It doesn’t happen. Obvious fraud,” even though a number of Trump-endorsed candidates have done so.

Such arguments unsuccessfully explain how Trump-endorsed state legislator Burt Jones defeated fellow state legislator Butch Miller without needing a runoff, or how Trump-endorsed Herschel Walker got 68.2% of the votes, if some anti-Trump algorithm was deployed. How did Marjorie Taylor Greene get 70% of the vote against several opposing candidates with such an algorithm?

The columnist also called Insurance Commissioner John King “a nobody,” despite his law enforcement and military record. I interviewed him at a Senator Kelly Loeffler event, and was very impressed. I can see why he won by a wide margin. Ditto Attorney General Chris Carr.

But the conspiracy theories persist. After all, a Trump-endorsed candidate could never lose without some sort of nefarious excuse. The latest accusation is that Democrats crossed over and voted against Trump candidates in the Georgia primary. The article claims 37,000 Democrats crossed party lines, or at least 37,000 voters who voted in the Georgia Democratic Party primary in 2020 voted in the 2022 GA Republican primary according to the Associated Press. Now 37,000 voters sound like a lot, until you realize it’s less than the 41,109 votes Kandiss Taylor received in the GOP gubernatorial primary, or 3.4% of the vote. Brian Kemp earned 885,551 votes in the Georgia Governor primary.

We also don’t know how these 37,000 voted. Are they now Republicans, angry about inflation? It’s possible. Do we know exactly how these all 37,000 voters voted? Of course not. We’re thankfully not an authoritarian state and still have the secret ballot, though these critics claim to magically know. We also know the trend is that Democrats are actually supporting extremist Republicans in a number of races, knowing they’ll be less electable in Fall contests.

In reality, many Republicans who were criticized by Trump won in Georgia. Some of Trump’s endorsed candidates won, even by wide margins. Democrats didn’t provide the decisive margin of victory for candidates, because we don’t know that (a) these are still Democrats, or even (b) how they voted, given that Democrats are backing some of these candidates who appeal to MAGA. And (c) their percentage was actually quite tiny, less than 4% of the vote. This is a far more plausible explanation than some of the conspiracy theories.