Former Sen. Rick Jeffares, who finished third in the Republican race for lieutenant governor, endorses front-runner Sen. David Shafer. Submitted photos.

Rick Jeffares endorses David Shafer for lieutenant governor

The third place finisher in last week’s Republican primary election has endorsed the top vote-getter for lieutenant governor. 

State Sen. David Shafer on Wednesday announced receiving the endorsement of former state Sen. Rick Jeffares. Shafer will face former state Rep. Geoff Duncan in the July 24 runoff

“David Shafer is an effective leader, solid conservative and man of integrity,” Jeffares said in a statement. “I am proud to endorse him in the Republican primary runoff for Lieutenant Governor."

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp emerged as the top finalists in Tuesday's election.

Jeffares pulled in 24.4 percent of the primary vote, falling about 12,000 votes short of Duncan. Shafer received nearly 49 percent of the votes cast.

Earlier this year, Jeffares challenged Shafer to what he called a “friendly clay shoot,” with the winner backing out of the primary. Shafer declined.

A longtime hunter and gun rights advocate, Jeffares said he was disappointed the National Rifle Association didn’t endorse him, going with Shafer instead.

In a release, Shafer called the endorsement a huge development.

“With Rick's support, we are well on our way to consolidating the Republican party behind us,” he said.

Shafer, a Duluth resident, has served 16 years in the Senate, five of them as the Senate president pro tempore.

The winner of the runoff will face Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico in November.

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