President Trump traveled to Georgia this weekend ostensibly with the aim of mobilizing his supporters to help the state’s Republican senators fend off Democratic challengers in the January runoff elections that will determine control of the Senate.
But as Mr. Trump’s war with Georgia’s Republican leadership over the state’s election results continues to send off sparks, it is becoming increasingly unclear who, if anyone, is benefiting as Mr. Trump continues to challenge Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in the state.
Georgia officials on Sunday once again pushed back at Mr. Trump’s baseless allegations about the integrity of the election and his demand that they call for a special session of the state legislature to overturn Mr. Biden’s victory.
“The president’s statements are false,” Gabriel Sterling, a senior elections official in the Georgia secretary of state’s office, said in an appearance on the NBC program “Meet the Press.” “They are misinformation. They are stoking anger and fear among his supporters — and hell, I voted for him. The situation is getting much worse.”
The feud that erupted among Georgia Republicans after the election has intensified as state officials remain caught between the reality that Mr. Trump lost the state and mounting demands from the president and his supporters to support Mr. Trump’s claims that the election had been “stolen.”
Republican state officials defended the election results, noting that the outcome had withstood multiple recounts, and argued that the president was sowing division within the party and suspicion over the electoral process.
“The mountains of misinformation are not helping the process; they are only hurting it,” the state’s lieutenant governor, Geoff Duncan, a Republican, said on the CNN program “State of the Union” on Sunday. “I voted for President Trump,” he added. “I campaigned for him. And, unfortunately, he did not win the state of Georgia.”
The discord over the presidential race has seeped into, and in many ways overshadowed, the high-stakes runoff contests that both of the state’s Republican senators have been forced into.
On Sunday, the Democratic candidate in one of the races, Jon Ossoff, appeared alone at a televised debate as his opponent, Senator David Perdue, declined to participate. Mr. Ossoff, an executive for a media production company, took questions from the debate moderators while the lectern reserved for Mr. Perdue stood empty.
Later on Sunday, Senator Kelly Loeffler was scheduled to debate her Democratic challenger, the Rev. Raphael Warnock, the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
Mr. Trump traveled to Georgia for a rally on Saturday to mobilize support for Mr. Perdue and Ms. Loeffler in the January runoff. Yet the president mostly used the stage to air his grievances over the election, lashing out at Gov. Brian Kemp and Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state.
“You know we won Georgia, just so you understand,” Mr. Trump said in his first rally as a lame duck president, adding, “They cheated and rigged our presidential election, but we’ll still win.”
Mr. Trump lost the state by just under 12,000 votes to President-elect Biden, who won the White House with 306 electoral votes and was the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Georgia since 1992.
Still, Mr. Trump has continued to contend that the outcome is not final. On Saturday, he pushed for Mr. Kemp to call for a special session of the Legislature, during which lawmakers could appoint electors who would override the popular vote and hand Mr. Trump a victory for the state.
But in his CNN appearance on Sunday, Mr. Duncan said he believed that Mr. Kemp would not bow to the president’s demand.
“Calling the General Assembly back in at this point would almost be along the lines of a solution trying to find a problem,” Mr. Duncan said. “We’re certainly not going to move the goal posts at this point in the election.”
Mr. Trump has raised a flurry of claims to try to undermine the results. The president has railed against vote-counting machines and falsely claimed that mail-in ballots are rife with fraud.
Mr. Sterling of the Georgia Secretary of State’s office compared contending with the president’s allegations to playing the game Whac-a-Mole.
Mr. Sterling gained widespread attention for a recent news conference in which he visibly seethed with anger as he condemned the spread of spurious claims surrounding the election and the silence of Republicans who were refusing to challenge it.
He expressed concern that public trust in the election was being undermined as election officials and even low-ranking workers were subjected to threats. He added that he feared the consequences could escalate into violence.
On Sunday, he reiterated his outrage and his disappointment, particularly in Mr. Perdue and Ms. Loeffler, who, for the most part, have stood uncritically by Mr. Trump.
“I’m a Republican,” Mr. Sterling said. “We need to hold on to the Senate, so I’m still going to vote for them. But I’m not happy with how they’ve conducted themselves in this particular situation.”