DALLAS – Rep. Jody Hice this weekend slammed Georgia Democrats for pushing Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game out of the state with harsh criticism of its new elections law, and defended his decision to primary Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger over election security claims.
Hice, R-Ga., made the comments in an interview with Fox News at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
“I don’t know that they did anything to keep the game in Georgia. I mean they were all screaming voter suppression, take the All-Star Game elsewhere,” Hice said. “And that’s what happened and as a result it’s going to cost about $100 million to the businesses in Georgia.”
“I don’t think that goes over well with Georgians,” Hice added. He continued to defend the law, which is largely supported by Republicans of all stripes but decried by Democrats as an effort to disenfranchise largely minority voters.
“This election law that Georgia passed is a good law. It basically expands election voting opportunity while decreasing the opportunity for cheating,” Hice said.
One of the most controversial provisions in the law is a new requirement for identification on mail ballots, which can include a driver’s license; state ID number; or a variety of other options for those who don’t have one of those forms of ID. The law also includes a contentious provision that bans people other than poll workers from providing water to people waiting in line to vote a certain distance from the polling location; legalizes ballot drop boxes with some limits; and more.
Hice also discussed his primary challenge against Raffensperger to be the Georgia secretary of state. Raffensperger became a frequent target of former President Donald Trump because he regularly disputed Trump’s claims that the presidential election was stolen.
Hice said that his race is about “election integrity,” which he claims was “compromised” in Georgia under Raffensperger. He also said he is not concerned that an intra-party GOP fight could harm the party’s chance of holding on to the critical office in 2022 in what is a purple state.
“To me this is not about infighting with another Republican member. This is about election integrity period,” Hice said.
Hice admitted that GOP claims of widespread voter fraud might discourage Republicans from voting, noting the decline in Republican votes from the general election to the Senate runoffs in January. But he maintains that – despite the fact no evidence of widespread fraud has been revealed – he can rehabilitate Republicans’ confidence in their vote.
“Absolutely. If people believe their votes don’t count, they won’t vote,” Hice said. “And that’s precisely why I’m running. We’ve got to restore both the integrity and the confidence of the voters.”
Hice also talked about what states should do in light of the more contagious Delta variant of COVID-19, which has led some in the United States to advocate for bringing back health measures from the height of the pandemic like mask mandates. He said it’s important for states to encourage vaccinations but said there shouldn’t be any more mandates.
“One of the things that frightened me most about the pandemic was how willingly the American people were allowed and willingly giving up their freedoms,” Hice said. “That’s very concerning to me and I think the Delta variant is just another opportunity for control of the federal government on our lives.”
Hice added: “We’ve had national emergencies in the past. But those tragic events cannot be opportunities for the government to take control over our lives, shut down churches, shut down businesses, shut down schools, all in the name of an emergency. Liberty must be upheld.”
CPAC comes to a close on Sunday with a speech from former President Donald Trump, and the unveiling of the conference’s straw poll results about who should be the 2024 GOP nominee.
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