Collins beats Trump-endorsed Jones in 10th Congressional District contest

062122 Jackson, Ga.: Mike Collins speaks to members of the media during his watch party for Georgia’s 10th Congressional District runoff at The Brickery, Tuesday, June 21, 2022, in Jackson, Ga.. Collins is a trucking company owner and son of the late congressman Mac Collins. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

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062122 Jackson, Ga.: Mike Collins speaks to members of the media during his watch party for Georgia’s 10th Congressional District runoff at The Brickery, Tuesday, June 21, 2022, in Jackson, Ga.. Collins is a trucking company owner and son of the late congressman Mac Collins. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Mike Collins, a trucking company owner and son of a former congressman, easily defeated fellow Republican Vernon Jones in the GOP primary runoff in the 10th Congressional District.

The race was among the first Georgia runoffs called Tuesday night, indicating Collins’ strong margin of victory over Jones. In the process, he handed former President Donald Trump another defeat of one of his hand-picked candidates in Georgia.

Trump’s endorsement of Jones in the 10th District came as part of a deal to clear the path for ex-U.S. Sen. David Perdue to run as the former president’s hand-picked candidate in the governor’s race. Perdue lost his primary to incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp.

ExploreElection 2022: Complete guide to Georgia’s 10th Congressional District race

Collins was endorsed by Kemp.

Despite having Trump’s backing and sticking to conservative talking points on issues like gun rights, limiting access to abortion and strengthening the border, Jones was always a long shot in the 10th District contest.

He had few previous ties to the district, moving to Madison after launching his campaign. And his history as a former Democratic elected official who supported liberal causes, including abortion rights followed him to this contest that hinged greatly on proving conservative credentials.

The contest grew bitter during the runoff, with mudslinging between the candidates and voters receiving robocalls that lacked the required disclaimers to know who is behind them.

Because the seat leans so conservatively, Collins is expected to win the general election easily. The district includes all or parts of 18 counties in east-central Georgia.

The seat is currently held by U.S. Rep. Jody Hice. Instead of seeking another term, he ran as a Trump-endorsed candidate for secretary of state but lost in the primary to incumbent Brad Raffensperger.