Who is Gabriel Sterling? Georgia GOP election official debunks Trump's voter fraud claims 'for one last time'
In a scathing speech on Monday, Sterling said of the fraud claims, “This is all easily, provably false, yet the president persists, and by doing so undermines Georgians' faith in the election system.”
Monday, December 4, saw President Donald Trump’s oft-repeated voter fraud theory getting debunked by an election official in a presser. Kaitlan Collins, CNN’s White House correspondent, tweeted, “Top Georgia election official Gabriel Sterling is debunking Trump's election claims one by one. ‘It’s Groundhog Day again. I’m going to talk about the things I've talked about repeatedly for two months, but I'm going to do it for one last time,’ he says.”
Another Twitter user said, “This is a powerful press conference by Gabriel Sterling. This is what Democracy is. This is honestly terrific.” Another Twitter user wrote, “GA election official Gabriel Sterling debunked Trump's conspiracy theories at news conference point by point. He seemed so exasperated, I was expecting him to just say, ‘I'm so tired of this fucking shit’.”
Top Georgia election official Gabriel Sterling is debunking Trump's election claims one by one. “It’s Groundhog Day again. I’m going to talk about the things I've talked about repeatedly for two months, but I'm going to do it for one last time," he says.— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) January 4, 2021
This is a powerful press conference by Gabriel Sterling. This is what Democracy is. This is honestly terrific .— Jesse Lifson (@DoYouEvenLif) January 4, 2021
GA election official Gabriel Sterling debunked Trump's conspiracy theories at news conference point by point. He seemed so exasperated, I was expecting him to just say, "I'm so tired of this fucking shit." #PressConference pic.twitter.com/pPQfuBgt9D— Nita Cosby (@5_2blue) January 4, 2021
Who is Gabriel Sterling?
Sterling is the state’s voting system implementation manager in Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office. He is a former Sandy Springs city councilman and business consultant. The little-known election official’s celebrity rose, however, when Georgia was pushed into the national spotlight during the presidential race, and which President-elect Joe Biden won by just 12,670 votes. It was during that time that Sterling became a nationally recognized face - he started organizing frequent press conferences in November 2020.
Soon, the pressers took on a more opinionated approach as Sterling began pleading for Trump to “stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence”. He also spoke out about threats faced by election workers, including himself, and democracy at large. “I’m going to do my best to keep it together. Because it has all gone too far. All of it,” Sterling said during a December 1, 2020, press conference in Atlanta. “Someone’s going to get hurt, someone’s going to get shot, someone’s going to get killed. It’s not right.”
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sterling, a lifelong Republican, negotiated a $200,000 per year contract for himself in 2019, quit his state government job, and has worked as an independent contractor ever since. Election officials hired Sterling as a contractor after struggling to find a project manager to handle the state’s contract with Dominion Voting Systems.
Sterling’s pay reportedly increased from his $114,000 government salary since November 2019, when he took on the role of project manager for the purchase and rollout of the state’s new voting equipment. State election officials told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that as a contractor, the government didn’t have to pay benefits, such as health insurance.
What happened on the January 4 presser?
In a scathing speech, Sterling debunked Trump's false claims of voter fraud, running through a long list of already-debunked conspiracy theories again. He said it was like “Groundhog Day.”
“This is all easily, provably false,” he said of the fraud claims, “yet the president persists, and by doing so undermines Georgians' faith in the election system.” Among many other false claims, Trump and his lawyers have claimed that thousands of votes were cast in Georgia by people who were under 18, weren't registered to vote, registered late, or registered with a P.O. box instead of a residential address. Sterling said that the secretary of state's office investigated the claims, and did not find a single ballot cast by anyone in any of those categories.
“If you're a Georgia voter, if you want your values reflected by your elected officials, I strongly beg and encourage you to go vote tomorrow,” Sterling said. “Do not self-suppress your own vote. Don't let anybody steal your vote that way.”
The presser came a day after release of the audio of a phone conversation between Trump and Raffensperger, in which the president was asking the Georgia secretary of state to look into his claims of voter fraud and asking him to 'find' votes for him to get him past Biden's lead.