At the same time, political expediency is a significant factor. Mr. Raffensperger, who is up for re-election in 2022, is one of a number of top Georgia Republicans who are bending their actions to two diverging imperatives: defending the integrity of their state’s election while trying to survive the bizarre and evolving political weather systems generated by the mercurial Mr. Trump.
The president may spout conspiracy theories and acrimony — he has publicly attacked Mr. Raffensperger and Mr. Kemp for not acceding to his wishes — but he is also the most popular figure in the Republican Party. Nationally, Mr. Trump’s sustained assault on voting integrity, while false, has persuaded many Republicans that there was something crooked about the election. And no one is sure whether, or for how long, he will continue to command the fealty of his party.
Mr. Raffensperger, 65, most likely concerned about his future in politics, has tried to survive Mr. Trump’s onslaught with a mix of pushing back and staying in line. Last Thursday, Mr. Trump called Mr. Raffensperger an “enemy of the people.” Mr. Perdue and Ms. Loeffler, the Senate candidates, who are Trump loyalists, have called Mr. Raffensperger incompetent and have called on him to resign.