Vernon Jones quits Georgia governor bid to run for Congress

vernon jones
In this Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020 file photo, former Georgia State Rep. Vernon Jones speaks at a political rally in Atlanta, Georgia. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File)

One of the Republican primary challengers to incumbent Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp dropped out of the race Monday, saying he will support Donald Trump-backed challenger David Perdue.

Vernon Jones, a Democrat who switched parties as part of a full-throated backing of the former president, said Monday that he will run for Congress instead. However, Jones did not immediately say which of Georgia’s 14 congressional seats he will seek.

Speculation has focused on Jones running for the U.S. House in the 6th Congressional District in the northern Atlanta suburbs or the 10th Congressional District, which stretches east from the outskirts of Atlanta.

In a statement, Jones said he believed that he could best serve in Congress.

“I believe that strong conservative voices need to be heard as we lead America into the future,” Jones said. “Because of this decision, I am officially withdrawing my candidacy for governor effective today and will be supporting David Perdue for governor. He is a good man who loves our state and loves our country.”

Jones had met with Trump in Florida in late January, cryptically tweeting that “America First is alive and well. Not divided, but more united than ever. More to come.”

Polls had shown Jones drawing a small but significant fraction of support in the May 25 primary, which includes Kemp, Perdue and other candidates. His withdrawal could allow Perdue to consolidate anti-Kemp Republicans and makes it more likely that the GOP nomination will be decided without a runoff.

Jones formerly served as a Georgia House of Representatives member and DeKalb County CEO. He has unsuccessfully run for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives and DeKalb County sheriff.