Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan (R) on Thursday criticized fellow Republicans in his state for finding themselves in hot water upon the passage of the state’s new voting overhaul law, which he said can be attributed to the failure to refute former President Trump’s election fraud falsehoods during the 2020 presidential election cycle.
In an op-ed published in USA Today on Thursday, Duncan, who refused to play along with Trump’s bogus fraud claims and decried the former president’s “divisive” influence on the GOP, argued that the new Georgia voting law was a direct result of the misinformation campaign led by Trump.
After noting that the restrictive provisions in the law are a “much-improved version” of previous drafts in the Georgia legislature — citing the removal of limitations on Sunday voting and the elimination of no-excuse absentee voting — Duncan took aim at Republicans for feeding into Trump’s election fraud falsehoods.
Duncan argued that if Republicans simply would have “unequivocally remove any and all doubt in the public” by refuting Trump’s bogus claims, then Republicans in politically safe districts would have the spine to “resist the temptation to superficially support knee-jerk reaction legislation.”
Duncan pointed to the law’s restrictive provisions such as the banning of distribution of water to voters and the removal of oversight responsibility from Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger — who become a punching back of Trump’s after he refused to play along with the President’s falsehoods.
Duncan accused Republican legislators of pushing the new law through for the purpose of “appeasing the extreme right corners of their districts” and avoiding potential primary challenges.
“Unfortunately, Republicans fell into the trap set by the left and allowed them to make the bill into something that it’s not,” Duncan said.
Duncan went on to acknowledge that Republicans have “a huge hole to climb out of” in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election that put Georgia in the spotlight, before urging the party to no longer feed into unfounded allegations that work to delegitimize the election process.
“As Republicans, we must change the tone we use in future elections; conservatism shouldn’t be confused as divisive or mean-spirited. We need genuine empathy so we can understand and reach more voters,” Duncan said. “And we need to champion conservative causes that can win broad support and restore pillars like fiscal restraint that have crumbled as the GOP has put person over party. I call this approach GOP 2.0.”
Duncan concluded Republicans who supported the legislation “may be afraid of high turnout” as a result of running on the former president’s platform while arguing that the party needs better leadership more than election reform to win back the White House.
Last month, Duncan refused to preside over a session of the state Senate debating the sweeping elections restrictions. Georgia’s No.2 Republican temporarily gave up the gavel amid vehemently opposing the bill’s effort to severely limit absentee voting.