Runoff 2022: Evans, McCormick debate who is more conservative in Georgia’s 6th

Attorney Jake Evans (left) and emergency room physician Rich McCormick participate in the Atlanta Press Club debate ahead of the Republican runoff in Georgia's 6th Congressional District. Screenshot of Georgia Public Broadcasting livestream.

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Attorney Jake Evans (left) and emergency room physician Rich McCormick participate in the Atlanta Press Club debate ahead of the Republican runoff in Georgia's 6th Congressional District. Screenshot of Georgia Public Broadcasting livestream.

The top two vote-getters in the Republican primary in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District — attorney Jake Evans and emergency room physician Rich McCormick — are each accusing the other of faking their conservative chops as they campaign ahead of the June 21 runoff.

Their exchanges regarding who is the true conservative in the race took up the bulk of the time during a half-hour debate Monday hosted by The Atlanta Press Club.

There was some discussion on policy, such as McCormick’s opposition to abortion in all circumstances and Evans opposition abortions except those deemed medically necessary to save the life of the mother. Both men also said they oppose any efforts to pass new laws that restrict access to guns. However, the most contention exchanges came when they questioned one another’s conservative credentials.

Evans claimed McCormick’s list of endorsements is riddled with moderates and he maligns donations raised from healthcare organizations like the American Medical Association, which Evans described as liberal.

“The fact of the matter is, Rich McCormick is an establishment RINO,” Evans said, using an acronym used to describe members of the Republican party who critics say don’t truly ascribe to the party’s values.

McCormick said the attacks from Evans are just his opponent’s attempts to distract from the real controversy: An essay by Evans published in a 2015 law review, which Evans said originated as a law school assignment in 2012. McCormick describes it as a “manifesto” that illuminates Evans’ true political leanings.

In the essay, Evans discusses shifting public funding from criminal justice to education and defines institutional racism. Those writings show Evans true political views and run counter to his current campaign in what is now a conservative-leaning 6th Congressional District, McCormick said.

“We are sick of fake politicians who do or say anything to be elected,” he said during the debate. “Fake politicians like Jake Evans.”

In response, Evans said that it is McCormick doing the distracting by highlighting a 10-year-old essay and distorting its contents by accusing Evans of supporting “defunding the police.”