Feb 14, 2022 - Politics

Trump-backed candidates emerge atop 2022 Georgia ballot

Animated gif of two elephants involved in a tug of war with their trunks
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

What’s happening: About a month out from the qualifying deadline to run for office, a slate of former President Trump-backed candidates has settled at the top of the 2022 ballot. But there’s a gap in the race for attorney general.

  • Incumbent Attorney General Chris Carr’s office successfully defended the state’s election system against all Trump-backed legal challenges. But unlike some of his fellow incumbents, he does not have a pro-Trump primary challenger.

The intrigue: Two sources with direct knowledge of the situation tell Axios there is still an effort to recruit a candidate to take on Carr and complete a "Trump ticket."

  • Sixth Congressional District candidate Jake Evans has been lobbied by Trump allies to jump into the race, but Evans tells Axios he’s “all in on Congress.”
  • Carr’s campaign spokesperson Brian Robinson defended his "record of conservative victories that unites Republican voters."

Of note: Unlike other offices, Georgia law requires attorney general candidates to have been active members of the State Bar of Georgia for seven years.

Catch up quick: At the top of the Georgia ticket Trump has endorsed:

  • Former Sen. David Perdue, who is running against incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp with a campaign grounded in inaccuracies about the 2020 election
  • Rep. Jody Hice for secretary of state. Jones has also centered his campaign on falsehoods about the 2020 election, which incumbent Brad Raffensperger refused to overturn.
  • State Sen. Burt Jones in the open race for lieutenant governor. Jones helped lead the charge for a special session on the 2020 election.
  • Herschel Walker, Senate candidate and longtime friend received Trump’s endorsement last fall.
  • Vernon Jones, a vocal Trump supporter dropped a bid for governor last week to join the open 10th Congressional District race. He immediately secured Trump’s support and himself endorsed Perdue for governor.

How we got here: Trump has been systematically endorsing candidates nationwide to unseat those who did not support his campaign to overturn the 2020 election. Nowhere is that more dramatic than Georgia.

The big picture: Conservative North Georgia radio show host Martha Zoller tells Axios the power of a Trump endorsement has weakened over the past year, but whether he will make or break a primary in May, she says, remains unclear.

  • In an AJC poll last month 42% of Republicans said Trump’s endorsement would make them more likely to support a candidate. 43% said they didn’t know.

Yes, but: The absence of a Trump endorsement hasn’t stopped other Republicans from campaigning in the same lane. Lieutenant governor candidate state Sen. Butch Miller has proposed a ban on absentee ballot drop boxes, for example.

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