Former Georgia state Rep. Vernon Jones is dropping out of the state’s Republican gubernatorial primary and will instead run for Congress, he said in a statement Monday.
Jones endorsed then-President Donald Trump in 2020, citing his “handling of the economy, his support for historically black colleges and his criminal justice initiatives. He left the Democratic Party after speaking at the Republican National Convention, and announced in January 2021 that he would primary Republican Gov. Brian Kemp over Kemp’s refusal to participate in efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
“After much prayer and consideration, I have decided that I can best serve the people of Georgia in the Congress of the U.S.,” Jones said in a statement. “I believe that strong conservative voices need to be heard as we lead America into the future. Because of this decision I am officially withdrawing my candidacy for governor effective today and will be supporting David Perdue for Governor.”
Straight from the horse’s mouth! pic.twitter.com/GUrqu4CR3t
— Vernon Jones For Governor (@RepVernonJones) February 7, 2022
Jones did not say which congressional race he would run in, and his campaign did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment on the matter. (RELATED: Democrat Who Endorsed Trump Says He’s Stepping Down After Being ‘Harassed’ By Democratic Party)
Georgia’s Sixth and Tenth districts will both be open for a Republican candidate. The state legislature moved the Sixth District, currently represented by Democrat Lucy McBath, north by the state legislature, leading McBath to declare for 2022 in the Seventh District. That district is expected to flip for a Republican candidate. Republican Rep. Jody Hice announced in March 2021 that he would challenge Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, leaving the similarly-red Tenth District open.
Recent data has shown Jones in third place in the Republican gubernatorial primary, behind incumbent Kemp and former Sen. David Perdue. A Quinnipiac poll of 1,702 registered voters, including 666 likely Republican primary voters, conducted from Jan. 19-24 found Kemp with 43% support, Perdue with 36% support and Jones with 10% support. The poll had a margin of error of 2.4% for registered voters and 3.8% for Republican primary voters.
Trump has endorsed Perdue, who lost his Senate seat in a January 2021 runoff to Democrat Jon Ossoff after neither candidate cleared 50%.
Both Kemp and Perdue have gone negative in their campaigning, with Kemp’s leadership PAC accusing Perdue of outsourcing jobs to China. Perdue responded by accusing Kemp of “bowing down to the woke mob.”
Kemp has also filed an ethics complaint against Perdue, alleging that the former senator illegally coordinated with a campaign committee.