CANTON, GA—It’s runoff season in Georgia, and the GOP crowd that’s gathered here at the Canton campus of Chattahoochee Technical College in the north of the state for a “Defend the Majority Rally” is feeling pretty good. It isn’t just Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler they’ll hear from: The headliner is Mike Pence, who—while no substitute for the big guy, rallywise—has plenty of star power of his own in these parts. On the shuttle bus from the parking lot to the venue, a young girl a row in front of me informs her grandmother that, if she gets to meet Pence, she’ll pass out.
Once we arrive at the outdoor venue, the crowd mills about and people chat with their friends, enjoying the November sunshine. The arrival of the motorcade is an occasion of great excitement. The good times last until about a third of the way through the program. Sen. Perdue is speaking, and here’s what he says:
“We have spent four years with President Trump and Vice President Pence rebuilding our military. And these guys want to cut the military for the third time in 30 years. Clinton did it, Obama and Biden did it, and they’ll do it again with President Biden—if it turns out that way. We’re not going to let that happen in Georgia.”
Suddenly the crowd is on edge. A discontented buzz starts up. Then, as Perdue tries to move on, they start to chant: “STOP THE STEAL! STOP THE STEAL!”