Skip to Content Facebook Feature Image

Former federal official Johnson and ex-Trump aide Jack win Georgia GOP nominations for US House

News

Former federal official Johnson and ex-Trump aide Jack win Georgia GOP nominations for US House
News

News

Former federal official Johnson and ex-Trump aide Jack win Georgia GOP nominations for US House

2024-06-19 10:45 Last Updated At:10:50

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Republicans settled two congressional nominations in Tuesday runoffs, with a former federal official defeating a man who was convicted for illegally demonstrating inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and an ex-aide to Donald Trump winning in a race for an open seat in another district.

Meanwhile Democrats chose their candidate to run against Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene in the November general election.

The two parties were also picking nominees in eight state legislative runoffs where no one won a majority in the May 21 primaries.

Here's a look at the races:

Former U.S. Education Department official Wayne Johnson beat convicted Jan. 6 offender Chuck Hand for the Republican nomination in the 2nd Congressional District.

“I think that people are looking for solutions,” Johnson told The Associated Press by phone afterward. “They’re looking for people that can bring some experience to bear. And I think I was successful in communicating that I’m a solutions-focused person.”

Johnson will challenge 16-term Democratic incumbent Rep. Sanford Bishop in the district, which sprawls across 30 counties in southwest Georgia, stretching into Columbus and Macon. The district has delivered comfortable Democratic majorities in recent years.

Johnson is promising closer attention to the area's needs, including its military bases. He said voters believe Bishop hasn't done enough to improve economic conditions in a region that includes some of the state's poorest counties.

“It’s not that they feel he’s responsible,” Johnson said. “They just don’t feel like he’s done anything consequential to lift it up or to propel it forward.”

Johnson was the top vote-getter in the four-way May 21 primary, but the second-place finisher Hand drew notice after criticizing Johnson and then walking out of a televised debate.

Hand, a construction superintendent, was sentenced to 20 days in federal prison and six months of probation after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor offense in connection with the Capitol riot. He is one of at least five people convicted of Jan. 6 crimes who have run for Congress this year as Republicans, three of whom have lost primaries so far.

Hand campaigned on rallying Black and white working-class voters under Trump’s banner to improve the economy. When asked for comment Tuesday, Hand responded by text: “To be continued ...”

Former Trump aide Brian Jack beat former state Senate Majority Leader Mike Dugan for the Republican nomination in the 3rd Congressional District.

Jack will be favored against Democrat Maura Keller in November to succeed Republican U.S. Rep Drew Ferguson, who is stepping down after four terms.

A 36-year-old Peachtree City native, Jack was endorsed by Trump after working in his campaign and administration. He later worked for then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Jack based his campaign on his alignment with the former president, and using his Washington connections to raise funds.

“The power of the Trump endorsement is alive and well,” Jack told the AP by phone “I would not be a Republican nominee were it not for President Trump’s endorsement, his repeated endorsements.”

Jack promised to campaign heavily through November, in part to try to drive up turnout for Trump, and he touted his experience and connections as a way accomplish goals in Congress, including extending tax cuts and cracking down on immigration.

“I think it provides me with a unique opportunity to be incredibly effective on Day 1 and be incredibly responsive to the constituents of my district,” Jack said.

Dugan contended that Jack’s Washington insider status was a liability, saying voters should instead prefer his Georgia values.

“While tonight didn't go the way we'd hoped, we're grateful for the support that brought us this far,” Dugan said in a statement. “We wish Brian Jack well.”

Jack won almost 47% of the vote in the May 21 primary and was first in 14 of 15 counties. Dugan got nearly 25% and carried his home county of Carroll. The third- and fourth-place finishers both endorsed Jack.

The 3rd District includes some of Atlanta’s southern and western suburbs, running south to Columbus, with Republicans typically winning about two-thirds of the vote.

In the Democratic contest to challenge Greene in the 14th District, Shawn Harris, a retired Army general and rancher, bested Clarence Blalock, a 2021 Atlanta City Council candidate. Blalock barely led Harris in the four-way primary. Harris faces an uphill fight in the strongly Republican district.

Nominees in eight state legislative seats were being settled in runoffs.

Republican incumbent Steven Sainz beat challenger Glenn Cook to hold on to his House District 180 seat in Camden and Glynn counties. Sainz will face Democrat Defonsio Daniels in November.

Military veteran and Democratic activist Kenya Wicks beat former state Rep. Valencia Stovall for the Democratic nomination in Senate District 34 in Clayton and Fayette counties after party organizations endorsed Wicks, citing Stovall's past support for school choice and other issues. Wicks will face Republican Andrew Honeycutt for the open seat.

FILE - Georgia Republican Mike Dugan speaks at the 3rd Congressional District debate sponsored by the Atlanta Press Club on Sunday, April 28, 2024, in Atlanta. Dugan is competing with fellow Republican Brian Jack in a Tuesday, June 18, 2024, runoff for the GOP nomination in the district south and west of Atlanta. (AP Photo/Jason Allen, File)

FILE - Georgia Republican Mike Dugan speaks at the 3rd Congressional District debate sponsored by the Atlanta Press Club on Sunday, April 28, 2024, in Atlanta. Dugan is competing with fellow Republican Brian Jack in a Tuesday, June 18, 2024, runoff for the GOP nomination in the district south and west of Atlanta. (AP Photo/Jason Allen, File)

FILE - Georgia Republican Wayne Johnson speaks during a debate sponsored by the Atlanta Press Club with Republican Chuck Hand on Sunday, June 9, 2024, in Atlanta. Both candidates are competing in a Tuesday, June 18, 2024, runoff for the GOP nomination in southwest Georgia's 2nd Congressional District. (J. Glenn/Pool via AP, File)

FILE - Georgia Republican Wayne Johnson speaks during a debate sponsored by the Atlanta Press Club with Republican Chuck Hand on Sunday, June 9, 2024, in Atlanta. Both candidates are competing in a Tuesday, June 18, 2024, runoff for the GOP nomination in southwest Georgia's 2nd Congressional District. (J. Glenn/Pool via AP, File)

FILE - Georgia Republican Brian Jack speaks at a campaign event in Newnan, Ga., on Monday, June 10, 2024. Jack is competing with fellow Republican Mike Dugan in a Tuesday, June 18, 2024, runoff for the GOP nomination in the 3rd Congressional District south and west of Atlanta. (AP Photo, Jeff Amy, File)

FILE - Georgia Republican Brian Jack speaks at a campaign event in Newnan, Ga., on Monday, June 10, 2024. Jack is competing with fellow Republican Mike Dugan in a Tuesday, June 18, 2024, runoff for the GOP nomination in the 3rd Congressional District south and west of Atlanta. (AP Photo, Jeff Amy, File)

FILE - Georgia Republican Chuck Hand speaks to reporters on Sunday, June 9, 2024, in Atlanta, after walking out of a debate with fellow 2nd Congressional District candidate Wayne Johnson. Hand pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor offense for illegally demonstrating inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. He's competing with Johnson for the GOP nomination in the southwest Georgia district in a Tuesday, June 18, 2024 runoff. (AP Photo/Jeff Amy, File)

FILE - Georgia Republican Chuck Hand speaks to reporters on Sunday, June 9, 2024, in Atlanta, after walking out of a debate with fellow 2nd Congressional District candidate Wayne Johnson. Hand pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor offense for illegally demonstrating inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. He's competing with Johnson for the GOP nomination in the southwest Georgia district in a Tuesday, June 18, 2024 runoff. (AP Photo/Jeff Amy, File)

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Donald Trump said he plans to announce his vice presidential pick on Monday, the first day of the Republican National Convention.

It remains unclear whether the assassination attempt Saturday at his Pennsylvania rally has changed the former president's thinking about his potential second-in-command. But he told Fox News Channel host Bret Baier in a call that he planned to make his pick Monday.

The roll call vote to nominate that person is expected Monday, according to a person with direct knowledge of the schedule who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The person cautioned that Trump could always change his mind.

After Saturday's shooting, Trump's choice carries considerably more gravity. If a bullet had struck just a little bit to the right, Trump likely would have been killed or seriously injured.

The close call puts in stark relief the significance of a position that is a heartbeat away from the presidency. Trump has repeatedly claimed that choosing someone who was qualified to take over as commander in chief was his top consideration for the role.

“You need somebody that can be good just in case, that horrible just in case,” he said in an interview with “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show” in May.

In an interview with Fox News’ Harris Faulkner taped hours before the Butler, Pennsylvania, rally, Trump was asked about how close he was to his VP pick and whether his decision-making would change if President Joe Biden steps aside.

“It’s a very important position especially if something bad should happen,” Trump said. “That’s the most important, if something bad should happen.”

Those on Trump's shortlist have differing levels of governing experience. Ohio Sen. JD Vance, for instance, has been in office less than two years, while North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum helms a state with a population (780,000 people) smaller than Columbus, Ohio (908,000). Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has been in politics for decades and is in his third term in the Senate.

Before the shooting, Trump had made clear that he wanted to dramatically reveal his pick at the convention, which he said would make it more “interesting” and “exciting.”

“It’s like a highly sophisticated version of ‘The Apprentice,’” he quipped in a radio interview last week, referring to the show he once hosted that featured him firing contestants on camera.

Trump and convention organizers have said the RNC's schedule will go on as planned despite the shooting, with Trump writing on his social media site that he could not “allow a ‘shooter,’ or potential assassin, to force change to scheduling, or anything else.”

“In this moment, it is more important than ever that we stand United, and show our True Character as Americans, remaining Strong and Determined, and not allowing Evil to Win,” he wrote.

He held meetings in the days before the shooting with the top contenders. All have submitted material, including bios and photographs, to convention organizers that can be used to prepare content if they're picked, according to multiple people familiar with the conversations who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the secretive process.

The private meetings with Vance, Rubio and Burgum were first reported by ABC News.

Nothing was offered during the meetings, one of the people said.

Trump waiting until the convention to choose a running mate is later than usual for recent cycles but is hardly unprecedented.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan negotiated with former President Gerald Ford for hours during the Republican convention in Detroit but settled on his former primary rival George H.W. Bush when those discussions collapsed. Reagan cut it so close that his decision came less than 24 hours before he formally accepted the GOP nomination.

Bush himself waited until the 1988 Republican convention in New Orleans before shocking many attendees — as well as some of the then-vice president’s own top advisers — by picking little-known Indiana Sen. Dan Quayle to be his No. 2, rather than a more established running mate.

Since then, though, the tradition has been to pick a running mate shortly before the candidate’s party’s convention opens.

In 2008, Arizona Sen. John McCain, looking for a way to reset his race against Democrat Barack Obama, picked little-known Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin shortly before the Republican convention opened in Minnesota. He got a bump in the polls that didn't last.

Biden, a Democrat, tapped then-California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate six days before his party opened its convention, which was held mostly virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic. And Trump chose Indiana Gov. Mike Pence in the days before the 2016 Republican convention opened in Cleveland.

Associated Press writers Zeke Miller and Will Weissert contributed to this report from Washington.

Follow the AP's coverage of the 2024 election at https://apnews.com/hub/election-2024.

Former President Trump waves to supporters after arriving to the Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport ahead of the 2024 Republican National Convention, Sunday, July 14, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Former President Trump waves to supporters after arriving to the Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport ahead of the 2024 Republican National Convention, Sunday, July 14, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

FILE - Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks, June 14, 2024, in West Palm Beach, Fla. Rubio is a top contender to be selected as Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump's running mate. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

FILE - Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks, June 14, 2024, in West Palm Beach, Fla. Rubio is a top contender to be selected as Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump's running mate. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

FILE - Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump, right, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum attend a caucus night rally, Feb. 8, 2024, in Las Vegas. Burgum, who has grown close with the former president since he dropped his own bid for the nomination before voting began, is the third top contender for Trump's running mate. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

FILE - Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump, right, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum attend a caucus night rally, Feb. 8, 2024, in Las Vegas. Burgum, who has grown close with the former president since he dropped his own bid for the nomination before voting began, is the third top contender for Trump's running mate. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

FILE - Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, right, points toward Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump at a campaign rally, March 16, 2024, in Vandalia, Ohio. Vance is a top contender to be selected as Trump's running mate. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean, File)

FILE - Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, right, points toward Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump at a campaign rally, March 16, 2024, in Vandalia, Ohio. Vance is a top contender to be selected as Trump's running mate. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean, File)

FILE - Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, July 9, 2024, in Doral, Fla. Trump waiting until the actual convention to choose a running mate is later than usual for recent cycles, but hardly unprecedented. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)

FILE - Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, July 9, 2024, in Doral, Fla. Trump waiting until the actual convention to choose a running mate is later than usual for recent cycles, but hardly unprecedented. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)

Recommended Articles