Trump was "stunned" by Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger's GOP primary win, per the AJC.
Raffensperger won the primary with 52 percent of the vote, well ahead of Jody Hice's 33 percent.
Trump for nearly two years has criticized Raffensperger's handling of the 2020 election results.
Former President Donald Trump was "stunned" by Brad Raffensperger's victory in the Georgia secretary of state Republican primary over his hand-picked candidate, conservative Rep. Jody Hice, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Raffensperger, who rejected Trump's repeated entreaties to "find" additional votes to invalidate President Joe Biden's statewide win in November 2020, won last Tuesday's GOP primary with 52 percent of the vote, compared to 33 percent for Hice.
The incumbent secretary of state carried most Georgia counties in the primary, only coming up short in the collection of counties that make up the rural-heavy 10th House district, which Hice represents in Congress.
Two senior Republicans with ties to Trump told the paper that the former president expected Raffensperger to go down in defeat against Hice, who staked his campaign on the incumbent's handling of the 2020 presidential election.
But Raffensperger avoided a runoff election by exceeding the 50 percent threshold of victory in the GOP contest, which allows him to immediately begin his campaign for the fall contest. The two Democratic candidates vying to be their party's nominee — state Rep. Bee Nguyen and former state Rep. Dee Dawkins-Haigler — are headed to a June 21 runoff.
Such a decisive Republican win would have been unthinkable to many observers even a few weeks ago when Trump's hand-picked candidate in the Ohio GOP primary — attorney and "Hillbilly Elegy" author JD Vance — scored a win in a multicandidate field.
As Trump flexed his muscle in contests across the country, the former president relished his ability to exert unparalleled influence over the party.
He hammered Raffensperger and Republican Gov. Brian Kemp regarding the 2020 presidential results in Georgia for nearly two years, arguing that the two officeholders didn't do enough to help him carry the state while also baselessly alleging that fraud contributed to his defeat.
In the months between the November 2020 general election and Biden's inauguration, Trump cajoled both Kemp and Raffensperger to overturn the election results, calling for a special legislative session to install pro-Trump electors who would disregard Biden's statewide victory.
However, Georgia officials found no evidence of widespread fraud or irregularities after conducting several vote counts in 2020.
And as the Raffensperger win and Kemp's landslide gubernatorial primary victory over Trump-backed former Sen. David Perdue demonstrate, the former president's influence still has its limits.
While Trump has continued to propagate his election claims, several prominent voices within the GOP — notably onetime Trump confidant and former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey — have urged the party to look toward the 2022 midterm elections and the upcoming 2024 presidential contest.
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