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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As President Trump unsuccessfully argues fraudulent voter claims, campaign operatives tell Axios the reality is the joint EDO (Election Day operations) by the Trump campaign and Republican National Committee left them feeling largely unprepared to challenge ballots in real time.

Why it matters: With several states moving toward certifying election results this week, the postmortems are beginning as political operatives try to understand what worked, what didn't and how to adjust going forward.

What we're hearing: Officials in different regions of the country describe a state-by-state patchwork — and a sense that the GOP's litigate-everything posture wasn't matched by operations robust or agile enough to mobilize properly.

  • "They claimed they had a great EDO on the ground, and that was the furthest thing from the truth," said one Trump election adviser who was in Pennsylvania the week of the election. "You have to stop fraud as it happens, not after the fact."
  • An official in the Gulf states said they repeatedly asked the campaign for more resources and were denied.
  • "The campaign fell apart after Election Day," another adviser said. "You can’t audit this in reverse. ... The infrastructure just failed."
  • In contrast, two officials in Florida told me their team had a good plan in place to combat concerns in real time and a strong EDO helped them win there.

The other side: Trump deputy campaign manager and lawyer Justin Clark tells Axios this was "the largest, most organized Election Day operation ever mounted by any campaign in the history of the Republican Party" with more than 50,000 trained volunteers nationwide.

  • "We were prepared, and anyone who says otherwise either wasn't there or is trying to make themselves seem smart by anonymously running to the press."

Be smart: Republican elections lawyer Ben Ginsberg tells Axios' Stef Kight even if the Trump campaign had better EDOs, there's no reason to assume that would have yielded any discoveries to invalidate Biden's margins.

Go deeper

Murkowski: "It is time to begin the full and formal transition process"

Murkowski leaves the Senate Republicans lunch in September. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) tweeted Sunday, "It is time to begin the full and formal transition process." She called Trump's attempts to overturn President-elect Biden's win "inconsistent with our democratic process."

Why it matters: Only a handful of congressional Republicans have acknowledged Biden as president-elect as Trump and his campaign continue unsuccessful legal challenges in key swing states.

Updated Nov 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump campaign asks Georgia for another election recount

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Georgia will conduct another presidential election results recount following a Trump campaign request on Saturday.

Why it matters: State election officials and Gov. Brian Kemp (R) on Friday certified Georgia's election results that show President-elect Joe Biden officially won the state by just over 12,600 votes.

18 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Georgia's Secretary of State: GOP is looking for "scapegoats"

Brad Raffensperger, Jan. 20 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, tells Axios it's time for President Donald Trump and the state GOP to accept that Joe Biden won Georgia and focus on the two Senate runoffs that will determine control of the Senate.

What they're saying: “The Republican Party's sole job is to win campaigns — and that's to raise money and turn out voters," Raffensperger told Axios in an interview on Sunday. "And when they don't get it done, they look for scapegoats.”