LEADING Republican attorney in the US state of Georgia Byung Pak has reigned as a prosecutor with the state’s legal department as Georgians go to the polls today to elect two senators in a Congressional run-off election that could define the Biden presidency.
Since the November 3 presidential elections, Georgia has been at the centre of US politics as none of its senatorial candidates obtained the required 50% of the vote, leading to a run-off which takes place today. Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue take on challengers Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff of the Democratic Party in a battle that will determine who controls the US senate.
With Republicans holding 50 seats and the Democrats 48 seats, today’s election will determine if President-elect Joe Biden will have a senate majority. If the Democrats win both seats, the party will have a majority as under the US constitution, the vice president is the president of the senate and will have the deciding vote in the event of a split.
Technically, this will give the Democrats a 51:50 majority as vice president-elect Kamala Harris will give her party the advantage. While this battle rages, outgoing President Donald Trump has still refused to concede defeat in the November elections and has not given up hope of getting the results overturned.
Over the weekend, President Trump was still trying to get Georgia’s top election official to find enough votes to overturn the election result. He told Republican secretary of state Brad Raffensperger in a recording to find 11,780 votes, so the state could be declared in his favour but Mr Raffensperger made it clear this was not possible.
Running out of options, Mr Trump is now pinning his hopes on the US Congress nullifying the election results. In apparent exasperation with all the drama, Mr Pak, appointed by President Trump has decided to quit, blaming unforeseen circumstances for his departure.
Mr Pak said: .”It has been the greatest honour of my professional career to have been able to serve my fellow citizens as the US attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. I have done my best to be thoughtful and consistent and to provide justice for my fellow citizens in a fair, effective and efficient manner.”
In President Trump’s recent conversation with Mr Raffensperger, he referred to what he called a never-Trumper US attorney in Georgia. It is unclear, however, whether President Trump was referring to Mr Pak with this comment.
Mr Pak submitted his resignation yesterday after serving for more than three years as the chief federal law enforcement officer for the Northern District of Georgia. He had originally intended to stay in office until President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20 as new presidential administrations usually replace US attorneys from prior administrations.
Born in South Korea, Mr Pak immigrated to the US when he was nine. As US attorney, the Justice Department said his office increased the number of criminal cases prosecuted by more than 30% from 2017.
His work emphasised taking cases that should be handled on the federal level, regardless of the amount of financial loss or quantity of drugs. Prior to serving as the Atlanta-area’s top federal prosecutor, Mr Pak was a member of the Georgia House of Representatives from 2011 to 2017.