Trump pick Jones wins Georgia lieutenant governor primary

Georgia Lt. Gov. candidate Burt Jones participates in a republican primary debate on Tuesday, May 3, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, Pool)

Georgia state Sen. Burt Jones has won the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor. It’s a victory for Donald Trump, who endorsed Jones in the GOP primary for an office being vacated by an outspoken GOP critic of the former president.

The Associated Press called the race Friday for Jones of Jackson with unofficial election returns showing Jones exceeding by a small margin 50% of the vote — the threshold needed to avoid a runoff. The runner-up in the GOP primary, state Senate President Pro Tem Butch Miller, conceded the race in a statement.

Jones’ victory means a staunch Trump supporter will be the GOP candidate in November to succeed outgoing Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, who vocally pushed back against Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen. Duncan chose not to seek reelection.

By contrast, Jones has embraced Trump’s baseless claims of widespread election fraud. He has called for a statewide investigation into the 2020 race and has said be wants to eliminate drop boxes for absentee ballots.

In the November election, Jones will face the winner of a June 21 runoff between Democrats. Former Atlanta City Council member Kwanza Hall and Charlie Bailey, who ran statewide previously as the 2018 Democratic nominee for attorney general.