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Trump taps Gainesville’s Doug Collins to lead recount effort in Georgia
Doug Collins
Doug Collins

U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, will lead President Donald Trump's recount team in Georgia. 

The president’s campaign made that announcement Sunday evening as President-elect Joe Biden continued to narrowly lead Trump in the contest for Georgia's 16 electoral votes after edging ahead early Friday as mail ballots were counted. The Associated Press declared Biden the nationwide winner Saturday but has not called a winner in Georgia.  

The state had not finished counting votes as of Sunday night, but Biden was leading by 10,353 votes out of a total of almost 5 million cast, the Secretary of State’s Office reported as of 6:10 p.m. Sunday. Of the state’s 159 counties, 37 had certified their results Sunday. Hall County reported last week that it expected to certify its results Monday. 

“Republicans stand by the ideal that every eligible voter should be able to vote legally and have it be counted,” said Collins. “During the coming recount, we are confident we will find evidence of improperly harvested ballots and other irregularities that will prove that President Trump won Georgia fairly again on his way to re-election as President. Georgians deserve a free and open process, and they will get one.” Specific information about harvested ballots or irregularities was not provided Sunday.

Collins was edged out in the crowded race for U.S. Senate that is now headed to a runoff between Republican Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Raphael Warnock. Meanwhile, Republican Andrew Clyde was elected to replace Collins, representing the 9th District in the House. 

Fulton County on Saturday began re-scanning some votes first counted Friday. County officials said they noticed some ballots had not been counted or scanned properly. County spokesperson Jessica Corbitt said workers are rescanning the batch of ballots in question and they would repost the results later. 

State officials did not have an updated count Saturday of how many provisional or military ballots are outstanding, said Walter Jones, a spokesman for Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. The Republican has said he expects a candidate will request a recount of Georgia’s ballots, as candidates can do when they are less than 0.5% behind after all ballots are counted. The state had already made plans to audit one of the statewide races to ensure that the new voting machines have produced an accurate count. 

The Trump campaign said a recount will begin in Georgia as soon as canvassing has concluded. 

Top election officials in Georgia and other battleground states, including Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Nevada, have all said they see no widespread voting irregularities, no major instances of fraud or illegal activity.  

Meanwhile, on a call with supporters Saturday, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien encouraged them to be ready to continue the fight for Trump, including standing by for rallies and demonstrations. Other aides outlined what they argued were irregularities in the count.  

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not yet made any public statements -- neither congratulating Biden nor joining Trump’s complaints about the results.  

“I’m not sure his position would have changed from yesterday -- count all the votes, adjudicate all the claims,” said Scott Jennings, a Republican strategist in Kentucky allied with McConnell. “My sense is there’s won’t be any tolerance for beyond what the law allows. There will be tolerance for what the law allows.” 

It was a view being echoed by several other Republicans neither supporting nor rejecting the outcome.  

“Nothing that I’ve seen regarding the election raises a legal issue that could succeed. There is just nothing there,” said Barry Richard, who represented George W. Bush in the 2000 recount in Florida that ended up before the U.S. Supreme Court. “When these kind of lawsuits are filed it just breeds contempt for the whole legal system,” he said. 

The Associated Press contributed.

 See original story from the Gainesville Times here.