Georgia Republicans Reject Trump Primary Picks … Again

Maybe former President Donald Trump should stop endorsing Republican candidates in Georgia because his hand-picked contenders have lost five of six 2022 GOP primary contests in the Peach State.

The latest Trump-endorsed Georgia candidates to fall in nomination battles against GOP rivals is Vernon Jones in the 10th Congressional District (CD 10) and Jake Evans in CD 6.

Neither of their races was close. Both were called not long after the polls closed.

The Trump endorsements were running in two of the four congressional district runoffs that Georgia Republicans cast ballots in on June 21, which also saw Georgia Democrats elect a nominee to challenge state Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. In Virginia, voters select a slate of challengers for incumbents in all 11 of the state’s congressional districts.

Jones, who calls himself “the black Donald Trump,” was a lifelong Democrat and a former state representative who switched parties, endorsed Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign, and then resigned his state House seat to run for governor.

Epoch Times Photo
Epoch Times Photo
Then Georgia state Rep. Vernon Jones poses for a portrait at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta, Ga., on Oct. 25, 2020. (Elijah Nouvelage/AFP via Getty Images)

At Trump’s urging, Jones left the GOP gubernatorial primary to allow former U.S. Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) to run against Gov. Brian Kemp and instead to run for the congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.), who was Trump’s choice to challenge Raffensperger in the Georgia May 24 Republican primary.

Trucking Company Owner

Kemp handily defeated Purdue in the GOP gubernatorial race, Raffensperger crushed Hice, and trucking company owner Mike Collins had no problem knocking off Jones by more than 20 percent of the vote in the CD 10 runoff.

Collins, endorsed by Kemp and six of his May 24 CD 10 primary rivals, is the son of the late former Rep. Mac Collins (R-Ga.). Despite Trump’s endorsement, he led in polling and fund-raising and remained the favorite in the district.

Collins
Collins
Mike Collins, endorsed by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, defeated Donald-Trump-backed Vernon Jones, in the 10th Congressional District runoff on June 21. (Courtesy of Collins for Congress).

Trump released a recorded message to CD 10 voters claiming Collins has flooded the airwaves with “unfair” and “vicious political ads that aren’t true.”

Trump said Jones has “proven time and time again he’s with the MAGA movement” and that “he’s the kind of guy that Georgia needs and Georgia, I think, will get.”

The only real issue that separates Collins and Jones is the former president’s endorsement. On the campaign trail, Collins called himself “unapologetically pro-Trump, an America First agenda candidate, conservative to the core.”

Evans Outpolled

In Georgia’s CD 6, U.S. Marine Corps veteran and emergency room physician Dr. Rich McCormick easily outpolled Trump-backed Evans, an attorney.

The Associated Press called the race before 8:30 p.m., with McCormick mounting an insurmountable nearly 50 percent lead despite only a third of the ballots counted.

Evans, the former head of the Georgia Ethics Commission, is the son of attorney Randy Evans, a prominent Trump donor who served as the U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg under Trump.

In issuing his endorsement, Trump called Evans a “young man rapidly on the rise” and said his father is a “highly respected legal warrior.”

CD 6 was represented by U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.), but post-2020 Census redistricting moved her into CD 7, where she defeated fellow incumbent U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Suwanee) in the district’s Democratic primary.

That makes CD 6 essentially a new and wide-open district that favors Republicans.

Trump Endorsements

Overall, Trump is 120-8 in endorsements in the 2022 Republican primaries, including 6-3 in governor’s races, 12-0 in U.S. Senate races, and 102-4 in congressional district races.

One of the former president’s candidates did notch a win on June 21 in the Alabama U.S. Senate runoff, with his endorsed candidate Katie Britt defeating his unendorsed candidate Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.).

Trump had endorsed Brooks, who was among the speakers at the Jan. 6 rally at the U.S. Capitol and voted against certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential election win, but withdrew support when the congressman said it was time to get over the election.

Epoch Times Photo
Epoch Times Photo
A supporter of Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) hammers a campaign sign into the ground outside a polling place at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama on June 21, 2022. (Jackson Elliott/The Epoch Times)

Brooks claimed he was the standard-bearer of the Trump agenda, calling himself “MAGA Mo” and the America First patriot. Nevertheless, Trump never re-endorsed Brooks.

Britt was never challenged. The Epoch Times called the race with less than 20 percent of total ballots cast counted, with Britt garnering more than 67 percent of the vote.

“We were told by petty much everyone everywhere that this was an insurmountable task and do not take it on,” Britt told supporters in a victory speech in Montgomery on Tuesday night. “God calls us to do hard things. Well, I’ll be honest with you, it still hasn’t sunk in, but we just did a really hard thing.”

With the June 21 primary and recall elections over, 25 states will have conducted their preliminary races and set ballots for the November elections. Louisiana and Rhode Island do not have primaries, so primaries in 23 states still await.

Trump still has at least 70 endorsements on the docket for Republican primaries, mainly in August—eight for governor, seven for U.S. Senate, and about 55 congressional reps.

John Haughey

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John Haughey has been a working journalist since 1978 with an extensive background in local government, state legislatures, and growth and development. A graduate of the University of Wyoming, he is a Navy veteran who fought fires at sea during three deployments aboard USS Constellation. He’s been a reporter for daily newspapers in California, Washington, Wyoming, New York, and Florida; a staff writer for Manhattan-based business trade publications.

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