Former Trump advisor, former senator headed to GOP Runoff For Georgia 3rd

May 22, 2024
4 mins read
Former Trump advisor, former senator headed to GOP Runoff For Georgia 3rd
Brian Jack (left) and former Sen. Mike Dugan speak at last month's Atlanta Press Club debate. AP Photo/Jason Allen

Brian Jack, who was an advisor to former president Donald Trump, and Army veteran and former state senator Mike Dugan are headed to a June 18 runoff in Georgia’s conservative 3rd Congressional District after no candidate surpassed 50% of the vote.

The Associated Press called the race at about 11:20 p.m. Tuesday. With 13 of the 15 counties making up the 3rd District fully counted, Jack held a solid lead with about 46.8% of the vote, ahead of second-place Dugan with nearly 26% of the vote late Tuesday night.

Businessman and former state senator Mike Crane was at about 15%, former state Rep. Philip Singleton had nearly 7% and businessman, former police officer and state GOP committeeman Jim Bennett had just over 5%, according to unofficial results late Tuesday night.

The winner of the runoff will go on to be the heavy favorite in a November contest against the Democratic candidate, nuclear medicine technologist Maura Keller, whom AP projected to win with about 52.6% of the voter over retired physician Val Almonord.

The race for the 3rd District opened up when Congressman Drew Ferguson, a Republican from The Rock, announced plans to retire in December.

Ferguson was a conservative who first won the seat in 2016, but some of his right-wing constituents said they disapproved of some of his votes.

He made headlines last fall during a battle over the House Speaker position, withdrawing support for Ohio Republican Congressman Jim Jordan after Ferguson said he and his family received death threats from Jordan allies.

The west Georgia district, which includes some of Atlanta’s southern suburbs and Columbus’ northern suburbs and stretches west to the Alabama border, has voted reliably Republican for years, and flipping it blue would represent a major upset.

Ferguson defeated Almonord by 37 percentage points in 2022, and Trump beat now-President Joe Biden by nearly 30 points in District 3 in 2020, despite losing the state overall.

Jack’s yard signs and campaign ads attest to his relationship with Trump, and he frequently touts the former president’s endorsement from the campaign trail.

“I served in his White House from the first to last day of his administration as the White House political director, and to sell myself, I think that I will look at the record of accomplishment and success that we had and we delivered in that administration,” he said in an Atlanta Press Club debate late last month.

“I was proud to work with him by his side for those four years in the White House, and that’s the exact same type of character, integrity and loyalty you’ll get for me if you elect me to Congress.”

Trump endorsed Jack early in the race, and his candidacy is seen as a bellwether for the former president’s popularity in Georgia after most of his endorsed candidates failed to make headway in 2022.

Trump cut another video promoting Jack last week, calling on Georgians in the district to vote for what he called a “very special man.”

“Brian joined my campaign in 2016, he’s been with me right from the beginning of my political career,” he said. “There’s nobody that knows more about politics and there’s nobody that loves Georgia or the United States more than him.”

Some voters in Carroll and Coweta counties Tuesday said Trump’s endorsement was all they needed to know about Jack.

Roger Fisher of Coweta said the former president’s endorsement was a factor in his decision to vote for Jack, but not the only one.

“I’ve vacillated back and forth between a few different folks, but I think it came down to he served in office with Trump and did some good things with the border. I know he had a lot to do with that,” Fisher said. “We’ve got to get the border under control, so that kind of swayed me at the last minute.”

Jeff Evans, a research engineer from Coweta, said he votes for candidates from both parties, but he cast his ballot Tuesday for Bennett.

“Because he was not Jack, and that’s the primary reason,” he said. “And he wasn’t Crane and he wasn’t some of the other ones that are ultra right, too far to the right.”

“Anyone who’s Trump-endorsed I could never vote for,” he added. “I think he’s a disgusting person.”

Dugan served in the state Senate from 2013 until the start of 2024, serving as majority leader from 2019 to 2023, touting the passage of the six-week abortion ban, the removal of so-called divisive concepts from school classrooms and the expansion of gun rights as among his top accomplishments.

He is a former Army Ranger with 20 years of service and has worked as a construction executive.

He has argued that this experience will serve him well in Congress.

“(Constituents) want somebody to go and represent their values, somebody that grew up in that district,” he said at an Atlanta Press Club Debate last month. “Somebody that’s lived there except for my 20 years in the Army, lived in what is now the 3rd Congressional District, as you know, it has changed numbers over the years. What they want is a proven leader that they can point to actually got stuff done while serving in the legislature. Not somebody who’s just a loud squeaking wheel, somebody that actually got results. Somebody that they know will stay in touch with them when they’re gone that won’t disappear as soon as they get elected. That’s what they’re looking for.”

Brenda Grubb of Villa Rica said she cast her ballot for Dugan because she liked the job he did under the Gold Dome.

“I just like what he stands for,” she said. “I liked what he did before, so I’m a fan of his. I voted for him before and I was pleased with what he did.”

But Coweta social worker Karlye Ramer said she voted for Dugan because she sees him as a more moderate figure, something Dugan might not want to be called in a Republican primary.

“It’s not so much that I like Dugan, I just feel he’s less extreme,” she said. “I’m looking for more of a moderate, not angry person.”

Ramer said she was put off by Dugan raising his hand alongside all the other candidates when asked whether they think the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.

“The only thing I don’t like is the continued denial of the election. I feel like it’s making a mockery of our country.”

The post Trump advisor, former senator headed to GOP runoff in June appeared first on Georgia Recorder.

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