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STORY BY ANDREW DESIDERIO AND JAMES ARKIN

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Published on January 4, 2021 10:33 AM

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Trump drive to overturn election, rescue Senate majority collide in Georgia
DALTON, Ga. — Republicans are counting on President Donald Trump on Monday to solve the problems of his own making and help save their endangered Senate majority.

Trump has scrambled the closing messages of the twin Senate runoffs here — creating a rift within his party over disputing his election loss and boosting stimulus checks, attacking the state's GOP governor and even calling for him to resign, and most recently pushing Georgia's Republican secretary of state in a private phone call leaked to the press to "find" votes to overturn his November defeat.

And in a race that depends on getting loyal Trump supporters to the polls, Republicans are bracing for a cacophony of grievances and attacks from the president when he takes the stage Monday night in Dalton, in the state's conservative northwest corner, to support GOP incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue.

"We're all kind of scared. I think Democrats are a little scared, too, that the under-performing turnout is going to affect your party negatively," said Rich McCormick, a Republican who was defeated in his bid for a suburban Atlanta House seat in November. "So I don't think it's going to be about Trump. I think it's going to be about how people view politics generally."

Trump is one-half of a presidential split-screen hitting Georgia on the eve of the runoffs: President-elect Joe Biden is also set to campaign for Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff at a drive-in rally in Atlanta. But it's the outgoing president — the audio tape released on Sunday and his Monday night rally — who is dominating the conversation.

Republicans and Democrats alike were warning this weekend of fatigue among voters who have been bombarded with advertisements for the better part of a year, noting that turnout from the early-vote period was lower than it was for the November election, though Democrats entered Tuesday in a slightly better position than in the General Election.

"I'm glad the president's involved. Because when it comes to burnout, he's one of the people that gets people motivated," McCormick added. "So thank God for the president in that way."