Georgia GOP to Choose Congressional Nominees, Including Jan. 6 Riot Convict

Georgia GOP to Choose Congressional Nominees, Including Jan. 6 Riot Convict

ATLANTA- Georgia Republicans are finalizing two congressional nominations in Tuesday runoffs, with a former Donald Trump adviser vying for an open seat and a man convicted of illegally demonstrating inside the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, running in a separate district.

Meanwhile, Democrats will choose a candidate to face Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene in the November general election, and the two parties will also select nominees for eight state legislative runoffs where no one gained a majority in the May 21 primaries.

Turnout is expected to be low, and certain congressional nominees may be selected by a small number of votes, particularly in the 2nd and 14th districts.

Here is a look at the races.

2nd District

In the 2nd District, Republican candidate Chuck Hand made news by walking out of a televised debate. Hand and Wayne Johnson are competing to challenge 16-term Democratic incumbent Rep. Sanford Bishop in the 2nd Congressional District, which stretches from southwest Georgia into Columbus and Macon. Johnson received about 45% of the vote in the four-way May 21 primary, compared to almost 32% for Hand.

Hand is one of at least four people convicted of rebellion charges on January 6 who are running for Congress this year as Republicans. He was sentenced to 20 days in federal prison and six months probation after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor.

Hand and Johnson agree on one key challenge: the Republican nominee must recruit new GOP voters after Bishop won 55% in 2022.

Hand, a construction superintendent who lives in rural Butler, claims to be leading a working-class movement to change economic conditions in one of Georgia’s worst areas. He intends to unite black and white workers behind Trump’s banner. However, Hand declined to discuss many of the concerns before Congress.

“I have no desire to play the ‘This is what I would do’ game. “We are not there yet,” Hand told reporters after leaving the debate. “In order to do anything, we must first defeat Sanford Bishop.”

Johnson has stated that Hand is unqualified. As a former Education Department official under Trump, he claims to be better prepared to attract some of the Democrats who have long supported Bishop, the majority of whom are Black.

“Hand is weak and shallow on issues of substance that are important to voters, but he is a master of bluster and bravado,” Johnson stated.

Michael Nixon, who finished third in May with 19%, endorsed Johnson while condemning previously dismissed criminal allegations against Hand, as well as an earlier conviction of Hand’s wife for unlawful oxycodone sales.

3rd District

Republican Brian Jack argues that voters in the 3rd District should vote for someone who supports President Trump’s America First agenda.

His opponent, former state Senate Majority Leader Mike Dugan, has argued that Jack’s Washington insider reputation is a negative, claiming that voters prefer his “Georgia values.”

The winner will be the favorite to succeed Republican Rep. Drew Ferguson, who is leaving after four terms.

Jack, 36, is a Peachtree City native who worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign and spent four years as White House political director. He then worked for Kevin McCarthy, the then-House Speaker.

That encounter earned him Trump’s endorsement and a large cash haul from prominent Republicans.

Dugan, a 60-year-old contractor and veteran Army officer, promotes his decision-making and coalition-building skills. He’s criticized Jack as a “D.C. insider.”

The 3rd District encompasses some of Atlanta’s southern and western suburbs and extends south to Columbus, with Republicans regularly winning roughly two-thirds of the vote.

Maura Keller, a Democrat, awaits the Republican nominee in November.

Jack received approximately 47% of the vote in May and was the leading vote-getter in 14 of the 15 counties. Dugan received nearly 25%, carrying his home county of Carroll.

The third and fourth place finishers both supported Jack.

Other races

Clarence Blalock, a 2021 Atlanta City Council candidate, and Shawn Harris, a retired Army commander and rancher, are the two Democrats running against Greene in the 14th District. Blalock nearly edged Harris in the four-way primary. The winner has a difficult battle in a heavily Republican district.

Runoff elections are being held to decide the nominees for eight state legislative seats. Republican incumbent Steven Sainz is defending his House District 180 seat in Camden and Glynn counties against opponent Glenn Cook.

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