The Jolt: Duncan won’t endorse Burt Jones in lieutenant governor’s race

News and analysis from the politics team at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan has stayed quiet on the race to succeed him until now. He is pictured above speaking at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta on Tuesday, November 9, 2021. (Hyosub Shin /

Credit: Hyosub Shin/AJC

Credit: Hyosub Shin/AJC

Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan has stayed quiet on the race to succeed him until now. He is pictured above speaking at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta on Tuesday, November 9, 2021. (Hyosub Shin /

Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan has stayed quiet on the race to succeed him — until now.

Duncan, a Republican, appeared with former Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes Tuesday night on a newsmaker panel during an event for Atlanta Journal-Constitution subscribers at the Georgia Aquarium.

With your Insiders asking the questions, we noted that Duncan had not yet endorsed state Sen. Burt Jones, the Republican running to replace him in November.

“Well, he’s not asked for my endorsement. So that’s, I think, an important component,” Duncan said.

After a few laughs from the crowd, Duncan made it clear that Jones’ role as a fake elector for then-President Donald Trump and ongoing questions about the 2020 elections mean he won’t be throwing his support behind Jones any time soon.

“I don’t believe the election was rigged and he does,” Duncan said. “And I just have a hard time — me and my family, with all that we’ve gone through — to put our stamp of credibility on that. When your family receives death threats, when you receive mountains and mountains and mountains of negative attention, because somebody wants to lie about the outcome of an election, I have a problem with that.”

The stance drew praise from Barnes, who said more politicians should take similar positions when it comes to Jones.

As our colleague Maya Prabhu notes, Jones and Duncan have a rocky history. After the 2020 election, Jones was one of several Republican senators who backed attempts to overturn the presidential vote in Georgia in favor of Trump. When the legislative session resumed in 2021, Duncan announced that Jones would no longer serve as chairman of the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee.

According to WABE’s Rahul Bali, Jones’ camp wasn’t sweating the declaration from Duncan: “Who?” Jones’ spokesman responded to the news.


LISTEN UP. The midweek edition of the Politically Georgia podcast is up with the “Five Things We’re Watching” ahead of the all-important November elections.

Are they the same five things you’re watching? Listen and find out, and be sure to subscribe at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or Stitcher so that you never miss an episode.


RACE AD ATTACK. Herschel Walker is debuting a 30-second spot today few, if any, other Republican U.S. Senate hopefuls around the nation could run.

“Senator Warnock believes America is a bad country full of racist people. I believe we’re a good country full of generous people,” Walker says in the ad. “Warnock wants to divide. I want to bring us together.”

The ad opens with a declaration that Democrats “use race to divide us” before clips from U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, Stacey Abrams and Vice President Kamala Harris — all prominent Black Democrats — are played.

It’s a bid to drive up turnout from conservative white voters by reinforcing his view of a color-blind Georgia that doesn’t reflect the realities of many Black voters.

Warnock has offered different perspective on the campaign trail, framing himself as a uniter.

“We have to resist the demagogues, resist the division, and embrace that American covenant of, ‘e pluribus unum.’ Out of many, one,” Warnock told a Rome audience last week.

The contest is a head-to-head matchup between Warnock, Georgia’s first black U.S. senator, and Walker, a former football star who would be the state’s first Republican Black U.S. senator.

It’s the first time in modern Georgia history — and among only a small handful of times in U.S. history — voters have nominated two Black candidates for the U.S. Senate.


MCCORMICK ON ABORTION RESTRICTIONS. Liberal provocateur Lauren Windsor taped Dr. Rich McCormick, the GOP nominee for Georgia’s 6th District, answering a question on whether he’d support a federal abortion ban if Republicans retake the U.S. House.

“If we have an opportunity to pass something like that, I will.”

McCormick, an emergency room doctor in Gwinnett County, finished first in a crowded Republican primary in May and then defeated Jake Evans in the GOP runoff.

He’ll face Democrat Bob Christian in November. Christian supports abortion rights and called the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade “our worst fears come true.”

“It is horrific and embarrassing that we are still having this conversation in 2022,” he said.



- Former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will return to the White House for the unveiling of their official portraits in a ceremony hosted by President Joe Biden.

- The Senate is working through confirmations.

- The House is on recess through Monday.


OSSOFF IN INDIA. U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff will have a great answer to the “What did you do over recess?” question as the Senate gets back to work this week.

Along with the usual local visits and news conferences in Georgia, Ossoff led an economic delegation to India last week.

The group met with Indian officials to strengthen relations between the U.S. and Indian and to identify economic opportunities for Georgia. In a separate meeting, Ossoff sat down with the Dalai Lama in Dharamshala, which was reported by Indian media.

We’re told the two discussed the path toward world peace and universal human freedom.


AUGUSTA DANGEROUS DWELLINGS. Congressman Rick Allen is set to tour the Bon Air Apartments in Augusta today with officials from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

HUD Regional Director Mark R. Dominick and Regional Administrator Jose Alvarez are set to join the tour with Allen, a Republican who represents the area.

Congressman Rick Allen is set to tour the Bon Air Apartments in Augusta today with officials from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He is pictured above talking with then-Sen. David Perdue at the Capitol in 2018. BOB ANDRES  /BANDRES@AJC.COM

Credit: Bob Andres/AJC

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Credit: Bob Andres/AJC

The group will discuss the renovations needed to improve safety and security at the beleaguered apartment complex.

Earlier this year, Allen asked HUD to investigate conditions at the complex, which houses low-income families, after multiple complaints about poor conditions and crime there.


Georgia state Rep. Viola Davis praised a resolution adopted by Pine Lake that no city funds will be used to investigate reports of abortion. SPECIAL PHOTO

Credit: Special photo

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Credit: Special photo

DECRIMINALIZING ABORTION. A Georgia city run by women voted last week to stop abortion investigations in their jurisdiction.

Council members in DeKalb’s City of Pine Lake approved a resolution stating that no city funds will be used to investigate reports of abortion, even those that may violate the state’s new restrictive law. The same resolution requests that the city’s police department not investigate any reports it receives about possibly illegal abortions.

In a news release, state Rep. Viola Davis, D-Stone Mountain, praised council’s Aug. 30 vote, which was unanimous.

“The leadership in our city is led by a female mayor, an all-female council, a female police chief, as is the municipal judge and the court solicitor,” Davis wrote. “To have female leadership protect the reproductive rights of women demonstrates a united front of justice.”

Leaders in Atlanta, Savannah, Athens and the City of South Fulton have supported similar resolutions. Prior to the Dobbs decision, Atlanta’s City Council requested that its police department make investigations into abortions its “lowest possible priority.”


UP FOR DEBATE. The Atlanta Press Club has released its schedule of general election debates that will take place Oct. 16-18.

Invited to the debates are candidates for U.S. Senate, governor, secretary of state, lieutenant governor, attorney general, agriculture commissioner, insurance commissioner, labor commissioner, state school superintendent and U.S. Congressional Districts 1, 2, 6, 7, 10, 13 and 14.

The debates will be recorded at Georgia Public Broadcasting studios and available for the public to watch live on and the Atlanta Press Club’s Facebook page. Select debates will also air statewide on GPB-TV.

So far, the only candidate not to accept the invitation is GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker.


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