Georgia's Lt. Governor won't run again after taking on Trump
ATLANTA (AP) - Georgia's lieutenant governor, one of the prominent Republicans who openly contradicted false claims of fraud in the November presidential election, confirmed on Monday, as expected, that he will not seek re-election in 2022.
Republican Geoff Duncan was one of the best-known Republicans who openly spoke out against Trump's claims and angered many in his own party.
In Georgia, many other Republican officials have doubled over on unproven claims that Trump was cheated of Georgia's 16 electoral votes in November. Duncan said Monday he would focus on building an advocacy group called GOP 2.0 that will "focus on healing and rebuilding a Republican party that is damaged but not destroyed".
"GOP 2.0 will work hard every day and use real empathy and a respectful tone to remind Americans of the value of conservative politics," said Duncan.
Duncan is also writing a book entitled "GOP 2.0: How the 2020 Elections Can Lead to a Better Path for the Conservative Party of America" for Simon & Schuster to publish in September.
"It always feels coldest just before the sun comes up," said Duncan in a statement released Monday for our Conservative Party across the country, better days are ahead. "
Republicans considering running for Lieutenant Governor in 2022 include Senator Burt Jones of Jackson and Senate President Pro Tem Butch Miller of Gainesville. Jones was part of a group of Republican senators who took legislative action to investigate Trump's claims and possibly overturn Georgia's election results. Senate majority whip Steve Gooch, a Republican from Dahlonega, released a statement Monday saying he could run.
Speaking out against Trump has given Duncan a national platform and earned him praise from moderates and even some Democrats. But it has also made him a target among conservative members of the Republican Party, as Duncan was censored several times on Saturday by Republicans holding conventions in Georgia's 14 congressional districts.
For example, at the 11th District Republican Congress in Cartersville, delegates passed a resolution reprimanding Duncan for “conduct harmful to the party” and asking him to apologize. They said he "repeatedly denied the existence of electoral fraud and electoral irregularities in the 2020 election, denigrating President Trump and countless Republican voters in Georgia for their beliefs."
Duncan had said the misinformation spread by Trump would hurt Republicans' chances in two US Senate runoff elections held in January, which would further sweep the Democrats and give them control of the chamber. He has also criticized as "punitive" parts of Georgia's new electoral law that emerged from Trump's false claims.
The new law requires voters to produce ID to request a postal vote, shorten the days to request a postal vote, shorten the pre-runoff vote, provide fewer dropboxes than allowed during the pandemic, and allow the state to take over Voting offices and law firms in the county allow people to provide food and water to voters within 45 meters of a polling station.
In early March, Duncan refused to lead a Senate debate on a GOP-backed proposal that would have severely restricted who could vote absent in the mail. The provision was not included in the final version of the law that became law.
Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has also been a critic of Trump's efforts to undermine the election results and has repeatedly stated that the election is free and fair. Raffensperger, who is standing for re-election, is already being challenged by Republican US Representative Jody Hice, who was supported by Trump.
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