Burt Jones receives most significant endorsement possible
It seemed inevitable, and the endorsement was coming.
Then, on Thursday, it happened. Lieutenant Governor candidate Burt Jones, the Butts County man who's represented Milledegeville in the State Senate since 2013, received a massive campaign endorsement from Donald Trump on Thursday. Although much can change between now and next spring's Republican primary, the endorsement makes Jones a prohibitive favorite to win the GOP primary and become the Republican candidate in the November 2022 general election.
Jones’ name recognition and political stock began soaring late last year after he strongly hitched his political wagons to Donald Trump and Trump’s efforts to investigate the results of the presidential election in Georgia. Jones appeared beside former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani in December during Giuliani's tour of the state capitol. Later that week, Jones’ efforts were recognized by Trump during a rally in Valdosta.
“Thank you very much, Burt. I appreciate everything you’re doing, and so does this big crowd,” Trump said during his speech.
Thursday's endorsement from Trump certainly was a ringing one. Wrote the former president:
State Senator Burt Jones is a Conservative warrior running for Lieutenant Governor in Georgia. No one has fought harder for Election Integrity than Burt, and no state needs it more. A businessman and a Patriot, Burt will always stand for America First, and will help bring back Energy Independence, a Strong Border, Low Taxes, Great Education, and Safe Cities. He will also get to the bottom of the Nov. 3 Presidential Election Scam. Burt Jones has my Complete and Total Endorsement. He will not let the great people of Georgia down!
Jones was first elected to the State Senate in 2012, upsetting the incumbent – Milledgeville man Johnny Grant – and becoming the first non-Baldwin County resident to represent District 25 in the State Senate in at least 75 years. Jones' 2012 campaign was well-funded, thanks in large part to the resources provided by his father, Bill Jones, the patriarch of the Jones Petroleum Company, a successful gasoline distributor and retailer business that also owns and operates commercial properties. During his campaign launch, Jones released a digital campaign ad, touting himself as a “proven business leader, consistent conservative and champion for Georgia families,” while vowing to “fight for President Trump’s America First Agenda.”
The first round of plus-sized BURT JONES FOR GEORGIA signs recently began rolling out.
Fox News ran a story on Jones after his lieutenant governor announcement last month. Prior to last winter, the lieutenant governor's job in Georgia was a relatively obscure one and wouldn't have garnered any national news stories. Now, however, with Trump still so involved in Republican politics and pundits tracking the performance of "Trump candidates," the position has gained much more notoriety.
Trump already has ruled out endorsing the other GOP candidate currently in the lieutenant governor's race – Butch Miller, a longtime State Senator from Gainesville. Wrote Trump in an official statement on his website: "I will not be supporting or endorsing Senator Butch Miller, running for Lieutenant Governor of Georgia, because of his refusal to work with other Republican Senators on voter fraud and irregularities in the State. Hopefully there will be strong and effective primary challengers for the very important Lieutenant Governor position!"
Jones, meanwhile, visited Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate earlier this year and continues to be close with the 45th president. At this point, an endorsement from Trump seems to be a matter of when, as opposed to if.
On the Democrat side, meanwhile, four candidates already have announcedtheir intentions to run, including a grandson of former Georgia Governor Zell Miller. For perspective, the November 2018 lieutenant governor's race was decided by 123,172 votes, with Republican Geoff Duncan edging out Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico by a 51.6 to 48.4 percentage margin.
Duncan, however, is not seeking re-election in 2022. Duncan received significant backlash from Trump supporters this past winter after he refuted Trump's claims of election rigging in Georgia, granting several national interviews and fighting back against Trump's assertions. That stance ultimately will cost Duncan his job, however, as Trump clearly remains the king-maker in Georgia GOP politics.