Next in the frenzied rush is President Donald Trump’s own rally on Saturday to elect Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler and protect the party’s control of the chamber. Then on Sunday, Loeffler and Warnock will participate in a debate hosted by the Atlanta Press Club.
Kemp explained that he did not have this authority and denied the request, the source said.
The President’s continued refusal to concede has worried Republicans determined to prevent Democratic control of the Senate. A group of prominent Georgia Republicans, including former Gov. Nathan Deal and former Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss, released a statement this week urging the party to unify, and shift its attention to electing Loeffler and Perdue.
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel on Saturday dismissed concerns that Trump’s messaging on election integrity could dissuade Georgia Republicans from voting on January 5.
“I think the voters very much support the President. I think they’re concerned with the state and how they administered the election,” she told Fox News, adding, “However, they want to make sure we keep David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in as well, and they can balance both.”
There is little evidence that Trump will stop his unceasing attacks on the democratic process and the state officials in charge of the election.
Ahead of Trump’s rally, a senior Republican aide directly involved in the Senate runoff contests told CNN that Trump is aware of the message he needs to deliver to Georgia Republicans, but their concern is that it won’t be the only thing he focuses on.
The aide told CNN Republicans are confident Trump will send a clear message to his supporters in Georgia that they must go to the polls and vote for Perdue and Loeffler. The worry is the President won’t make that message the focus of his remarks.
The concern remains that he will also continue to undermine the electoral process in Georgia. There is also worry that he will continue to attack Republican leaders like Kemp, which will distract from the overall goal of Republican unity.
The President also asked in a recent phone call why Loeffler, who ran in a 20-person special election, did not secure a majority of votes on Election Day against Warnock, who received a plurality of the votes.
Pence said on Friday that Republicans need to elect Perdue and Loeffler to defend the Trump administration’s accomplishments over the past four years.
“We need to send them back because the Republican Senate majority could be the last line of defense preserving all that we’ve done to defend this nation, revive our economy, and preserve the God-given liberties we hold dear,” said Pence in Savannah.
While Biden narrowly won Georgia — the first time for a Democratic presidential nominee since Bill Clinton in 1992 — Republicans have a number of advantages in the two races. The state has not sent a Democrat to the Senate in 20 years. Last month, Perdue received tens of thousands of more votes than Ossoff. And Republicans are spending about $38 million more on ads than the Democrats, according to Kantar Media/CMAG data.
“The special election in Georgia is going to determine, ultimately, the course of the Biden presidency,” said Obama at the virtual event on Friday.
This story has been updated with additional reporting.
CNN’s Ryan Nobles, Kaitlan Collins, Jeremy Diamond, Jason Hoffman, Liz Turrell, Kristen Holmes and Veronica Stracqualursi contributed to this report.