Brad Raffensperger is Georgia’s Republican secretary of state who gained national attention for his role in certifying the 2020 presidential election results in the state, despite pressure and threats from former President Donald Trump and his supporters. However, few people know about the personal tragedy that Raffensperger and his family have endured: the death of his son Brenton Raffensperger in 2018.
Brad Raffensperger’s Family and Background
Brad Raffensperger was born in 1955 and grew up in a family of five siblings. He met his wife Tricia in high school and they have been married for over 45 years. They raised three sons and have three grandchildren.
Raffensperger is a businessman, civil engineer, and politician. He earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Western Ontario and a Master of Business Administration from Georgia State University. He is the chief executive officer of Tendon Systems, LLC, a contracting and engineering firm that operates in Columbus, Georgia, and Forsyth County, Georgia. He has a net worth of $26.5 million from his work in the private sector.
Raffensperger is a lifelong Republican who served on the Johns Creek City Council from 2012 to 2014 and in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2015 to 2019, representing District 50. He was elected as the secretary of state of Georgia in 2018 and took office in January 2019.
Raffensperger is also a man of faith who has said that his religion is part of his character and helps him cope with challenges and difficulties. He has experienced several personal tragedies in his life, including the death of his father, the loss of his business partner, and the passing of his son Brenton.
The Tragic Death of His Son Brenton Raffensperger
Brenton Raffensperger was Brad Raffensperger’s eldest son who died in 2018 at the age of 29. He was married and had two children. He struggled with addiction, depression, and a cancer diagnosis. After mixing heroin, cocaine, and other substances together, he overdosed on fentanyl.
Brenton Raffensperger’s death was a devastating blow to his family and friends. His obituary described him as a loving husband, father, son, brother, and uncle who had a passion for music, sports, and cars. He was also a talented musician who played guitar, piano, and drums. He was remembered for his kindness, generosity, and sense of humor.
His funeral was held on February 10, 2018, at the North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia. His family requested donations to be made to the Brenton Raffensperger Memorial Fund, which supports organizations that help people with addiction and mental health issues.
Response to Public Attention
Brad Raffensperger rarely talked about his son’s death in public, but he was forced to do so in 2020 when a group of activists sent letters of voter registration to his son, who had been dead for two years. The group claimed that they were trying to expose flaws in Georgia’s voter system, but Raffensperger denounced their actions as disrespectful and insensitive. He also vowed to crack down on any fraudulent votes in the state.
Raffensperger and his family also faced harassment and threats from Trump and his supporters, who falsely accused him of rigging the election in favor of Joe Biden. Trump called Raffensperger and pressured him to “find” enough votes to overturn the results, but Raffensperger refused to comply. He also defended the integrity and accuracy of Georgia’s election process, which was confirmed by multiple audits and recounts.
As a result of his stance, Raffensperger and his family received menacing messages, phone calls, and emails from Trump loyalists. Some of them were sexualized and violent, targeting his wife Tricia. They also had to go into hiding for a week in November 2020 after intruders broke into the house of his daughter-in-law, who is a widow with two children. Raffensperger said that he was concerned about her safety and the safety of his grandchildren.
Raffensperger testified before the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol on June 21, 2021. He shared some of the threats he and his family received and condemned the violence and intimidation that election workers faced. He also reiterated his commitment to uphold the rule of law and the will of the people.
Raffensperger’s son’s death is a tragic and personal story that has been overshadowed by the political turmoil and controversy that surrounded the 2020 election. However, it also shows the strength and resilience of Raffensperger and his family, who have endured unimaginable pain and pressure while serving the public interest.