Trump decides he’ll try to influence Georgia’s lieutenant governor’s race too

Caption
Georgia Senate President Pro Tem Butch Miller, who is running for lieutenant governor, was undeterred after former President Donald Trump said he would not "support or endorse" Miller's candidacy. “I’ve fought for election integrity, I’ve fought for conservative values, and you can be damn sure I’ll keep the fight going,” Miller said in a statement. “I’m confident that when Georgia voters get a chance to compare my conservative record and character to my opponents I’ll be in good shape.” Nathan Posner for the Atlanta-Journal-Constitution

Credit: Nathan Posner

Credit: Nathan Posner

Since losing the presidential election to Joe Biden, Donald Trump has vowed to oust Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger — Georgia officials he said did not do enough to overturn the results in his favor.

Now he’s turning his attention to the state’s No. 2 slot.

The former president said Wednesday night that he will not “support or endorse” Republican Senate President Pro Tem Butch Miller’s candidacy to become Georgia’s next lieutenant governor.

Article continues below

Trump sent a press release saying Miller refused “to work with other Republican Senators on voter fraud and irregularities in the state.”

Our journalists are committed to pursuing the facts.Thank you for subscribing to
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Trump called on “strong and effective” challengers to enter the Republican primary.

Support Our JournalistsThe Atlanta Journal-Constitution's journalists report what's really going on in your community.

“I’ve fought for election integrity, I’ve fought for conservative values, and you can be damn sure I’ll keep the fight going,” Miller said in a statement. “I’m confident that when Georgia voters get a chance to compare my conservative record and character to my opponents I’ll be in good shape.”

Republican state Sen. Burt Jones of Jackson, a wealthy oil executive who has angled for Trump’s support, is expected to get in the race for lieutenant governor. Republican activist Jeanne Seaver also announced her intent to run for the office earlier this year.

Miller has repeatedly touted the state’s new voting law that passed this year in response to Trump’s calls of widespread voter fraud, often speaking of his pride in stepping in to preside in the Senate when Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan refused to take part in the debate. Miller, who recently announced raising nearly $2 million in the first five weeks of his campaign, has been an adamant supporter of the bill in the months since.

But his name was absent from a list of Georgia Republican lawmakers who signed an amicus brief filed in support of a failed attempt by Texas officials to sue Georgia and other states in December over their election results.

Among the names on that list was Jones, who also visited Trump’s Mar-a-Lago compound in Florida this spring.

Since the November election, Jones has promoted Trump’s false claims of widespread voter fraud. On Tuesday he received a hero’s welcome at a rally where most, if not all, in attendance believed conspiracy theories that the election was stolen from Trump.

Jones also was recently honored by Georgia Republican Party Chair David Shafer with a “Warrior Award,” citing his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

In the months since he left office, Trump has remained the clear leader of the party, with some polls showing his favorability ratings improving in recent months.

When Miller announced his candidacy in May, he said he thought Trump would be “favorable” to his candidacy, too, but said he would run for the job regardless.

“Whoever wins the primary needs to remember they have to win in November or it’s all for nothing. And that’s the key: I can win in November,” Miller said then. “I don’t care who gets in this race other than Jesus. If he gets in, I’m out.”