Chris West edges out Jeremy Hunt in Georgia’s 2nd District GOP contest

Republicans who have set their sights on defeating incumbent U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop in Georgia’s 2nd Congressional District now have their nominee: attorney and developer Chris West.

West was born and raised in Thomasville, and although he is solidly conservative, he built his campaign around a message of connecting with voters in all 30 counties within the rural southwest Georgia district.

He narrowly defeated opponent Jeremy Hunt, a political newcomer who was backed by national Republicans including former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and onetime U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Hunt conceded late Tuesday, according to The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer newspaper, but national outlets have yet to formally call the race for West.

During the campaign, West’s supporters criticized Hunt for having few ties to the district and moving to Columbus only after launching his bid. But Hunt’s backers said his impressive resume, which includes graduating from West Point and attending Yale Law School, would help him appeal to voters in what is now Georgia’s only toss-up seat.

He also created a national platform through frequent appearances on Fox News, which resulted in a former candidate for the seat raising concerns about what he considered improper influence by the network.

Hunt, who is Black, had also hoped to neutralize Bishop’s advantage as a Black man running in a rural southwest Georgia district with a sizable Black population.

Bishop, a Democrat, is seeking a 16th term in office. But election predictors have given Republicans a slight edge in capturing the seat. The GOP is hoping to unseat Bishop by capitalizing on disappointment with President Joe Biden and worries about inflation and the economy overall.