May 25, 2022 - Politics

Burt Jones declares narrow victory in Georgia Lieutenant Governor primary

Trump shakes hands with Burt Jones
Jones shakes hands with Trump at a Perry, Ga. rally in September 2021. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

A day after polls closed, with a razor-thin 0.06% margin over the 50% required to avoid a runoff, state Sen. Burt Jones has claimed victory in the race to be Georgia's Republican nominee for lieutenant governor. However his leading opponent, fellow state Sen. Butch Miller is not conceding.

Driving the news: In a statement, Jones highlighted that he'd won 153 of Georgia's 159 counties. "Now is the time to unite as a party and stand together against whichever Democrat candidate emerges–and I look forward to working together with my primary opponents to do just that."

Why it matters: If the results are finalized, Jones would become the only state-level candidate endorsed by former President Donald Trump to see a primary victory Tuesday.

Yes, but: The AP has not called the race. "When the final tally is in, we will know for sure if there will be a runoff or not. Until then any speculation or political posturing is just that," Miller said in a statement to Axios.

  • Miller has about 31% of the count.

The intrigue: Jones also raised more than double the amount of money Miller did, at $7.8 million.

  • "It doesn't help to have the Trump endorsement if voters don't know who you are," said Chip Lake, a Republican strategist and Jones supporter who was not paid by the campaign.
  • The endorsement helped, Lake said, especially since it was an open seat. But still, he said Jones "got around the state and worked his tail off."

Catch up quick: Jones was one of four state senators to call for a special session after the 2020 election to "address structural issues with our voting system before the January runoff." Gov. Brian Kemp refused to do so, despite immense pressure from Trump himself.

  • Jones, who has served in the state Senate since 2012, works with his family’s petroleum business and founded an insurance brokerage firm.

The other side: John Porter, senior advisor to Miller’s campaign told Axios, “It’s ironic the guy who wanted to spend 12 months analyzing the last election‘s results has seen enough to know he’s good in less than 24hrs.“

What's next: Jones would face the winner of a confirmed June runoff on the Democratic side of the ticket, between former Rep. Kwanza Hall (D-Ga.) and former Attorney General candidate Charlie Bailey.

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