Election turmoil has wracked Georgia since the Nov. 3 election, and many have wondered what’s going on in the office of secretary of state Brad Raffensperger.
Two former employees of the office told the Reporter this week that they’re not totally surprised by the uproar, saying it was a horror show run by an ambitious political consultant.
The employees, who don’t know one another, asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution. But both gave a similar description of an office hellscape run by 30-year-old deputy secretary of state Jordan Fuchs. Fuchs was vice president of the political consulting company Landmark Communications, and managed the winning campaign of Brad Raffensperger. Raffensperger is the Atlanta area engineer with the funny name whose millions helped him get elected out of a crowded field.
Upon taking office in January 2019, Raffensperger hired Fuchs to run the office.
“She’s the whip cracker,” said one former employee who I’ll call Pat. “I don’t think he gave any input at all. Every idea was hers.”
The former employee said Fuchs had a bad temper and retaliated against employees who displeased her.
Another former employee, who I’ll call Adrian, said Raffensperger said the buck stopped with him when Adrian was hired. But Adrian soon found out that it was Fuchs calling the shots.
Both employees said Fuchs is a political liberal who merely worked in Republican politics because it’s the only way to move up in Georgia. One said she regularly had dinner with Democrat leaders in the Georgia legislature.
But the real problem with Fuchs, said the former employees, was not her political leanings, but the way she treats co workers.
It was said Fuchs would rip employees in group emails, usually with her favorite phrase, “I can’t understand how you can be so stupid.”
Moreover, both employees said Fuchs thrived on pitting employees against one another, and would tell employees that someone else had said something bad about them just to divide the office.
“It’s really toxic,” said Adrian.
It seemed clear early on that Fuchs would be a problem.
When they were planning the inaugural ball in January 2019, Fuchs reportedly asked if she and Raffensperger could get a private limousine to the festivities like incoming Gov. Brian Kemp. When she was rebuffed, she threatened not to come to the ball and just hold their own.
That said, both said there are good, smart people in the secretary of state’s office, including elections officials Chris Harvey and Gabe Sterling. But Fuchs’ toxic leadership has run off nine top people from the office in just two years.
The toxic leadership was compounded by bad decisions including the one to do a mass mail out of absentee ballot applications to appease race-baiting complainer Stacey Abrams.
“I guarantee you it was because they didn’t want Democrats saying they’re trying to make voting hard,” said one. “You know it’s a bad decision when Stacey Abrams is applauding.”
Unable to take the toxic environment, both employees quit the office. One had to be treated for a serious depression from working for Fuchs.
As the dispute over Georgia’s election has made the secretary of state’s office something of a national punchline, one said it’s hard not to enjoy.
“This is the best karma I could ask for,” one said. “I hate that Georgia went blue. I don’t want this to happen. But the rest of world is finally seeing the mess I lived with.”
Pat said that Georgians may only now understand the depths to which the office had sunk.
“My experience with state government is that I don’t ever want to go back,” said Pat. “I’ve never seen something so pathetic.”