Former Georgia Rep. Vernon Jones announced Monday that he is no longer running for governor and will instead run for U.S. Congress in the state of Peach in a district to be determined.
Jones, a former Democrat who switched parties and became a Republican in 2021, said he plans to support former Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) in the gubernatorial race in the future, calling Perdue “d ‘good man who loves our state and loves our Country.’
“After much prayer and thought, I have decided that I can better serve the people of Georgia in the United States Congress,” Jones wrote in a statement Monday.
“I believe strong conservative voices need to be heard as we lead America into the future,” Jones continued. “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
Perdue, who is vying to unseat incumbent Governor Brian Kemp (R) in an already heated Republican primary race, welcomed Jones’ support.
“Vernon Jones is a conservative patriot who cares deeply about Georgia,” Perdue said in response to Jones’ announcement. “We need his voice and we need him in the fight. I’m proud to have his support for our Trump-endorsed campaign.
Former President Donald Trump endorsed Perdue after repeatedly targeting Kemp during Georgia’s 2020 election process. Now Jones, a staunch Trump supporter who put voter fraud issues at the heart of his brief gubernatorial campaign, has aligned himself with Trump and Perdue.
Jones was voting about ten percent in a recent Quinnipiac poll, a distant third behind Kemp and Perdue, and Perdue will likely annex much of Jones’ voter support now that Jones has left the main picture.
Kemp’s campaign responded to Perdue’s new endorsement selection by highlighting the controversies that plague Jones’ past, including the early 2000s sexual assault allegations, which Jones denied, and the pro-abortion votes Jones cast in 2019 while a Democrat in the state legislature.
In addition to sexual assault, Vernon’s record includes voting against the Heartbeat Bill, vetoing a pay raise for law enforcement, and voting in the 2020 Democratic primary for President of the United States. . #gapol (2/3)
— Cody Hall (@CodyHallGA) February 7, 2022
Whether Trump will weigh in on Jones’ congressional race remains to be seen, and the Democrat-turned-Republican hasn’t revealed which district he plans to run in, the Tenth District or the Sixth District, both of which are strong open seats. Republicans, according to the new Georgia Congressional Maps.
In the Tenth District, Trump-backed Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) is giving up his congressional seat to run for Georgia’s secretary of state. Hice, along with Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) and several other House Freedom Caucus members, joined endorsing State Rep. Tim Barr in the race to replace Hice, while the leader of Trucking company Mike Collins proved to be a strong contender in early polls. Several others in this race also remain viable candidates, and Jones’ entry would cause significant upheaval should he enter the field.
In the Sixth District, physician and military veteran Rich McCormick, who narrowly lost to Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-GA) in 2020, is running for the second time. McCormick’s challenges in this district are attorney Jake Evans, former state representative Meagan Hanson and several others.
Write to Ashley Oliver at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @asholiver.