Georgia Lt. Gov. Duncan Won't Seek Reelection Amid Backlash Georgia Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan speaks with members of the media on Friday, March 13, 2020, in Atlanta. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
By Eric Mack | Monday, 17 May 2021 02:33 PM
Citing tensions within the Republican Party – and amid the Georgia election backlash turned the state for President Joe Biden and losing two Senate seats in the Jan. 5 runoffs – Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan announced he will not seek reelection.
"It always feels coldest right before the sun rises," Duncan wrote in a statement posted Monday on Twitter. "I believe that is the exact moment in time the Republican Party is caught in right now, and I am committed to being a part of creating those better days ahead for our conservative party all across the country.
"The national events of the last six months have deeply affected my family in ways I would have never imagined when I first asked for their support to run for Lieutenant Governor in 2017. Through all of the highs and lows of the last six months, they have never left my side and are once again united behind me in my pursuit of a better way forward for our conservative party – a GOP 2.0."
Former President Donald Trump has hit the Georgia Republican leaders, including Gov. Brian Kemp, for their unwillingness to check Democrats' election pushes on mass mail-in balloting and alleged ballot harvesting by Democrat operative Stacey Abrams.
Duncan now vows to focus on "healing and rebuilding a Republican Party that is damaged but not destroyed," he added in his statement.
Duncan will work on "Project GOP 2.0," he said, "because this country and this party deserve better."
Republican leaders in Congress and outside of it note Trump's popularity keeps him as the leading voice in the party, however, giving it the best chance to help regain the losses in Georgia and the Senate, as it seeks to overcome narrow minorities in both houses of Congress in the 2022 midterms.
Trump himself has yet to officially announce his 2024 intentions and has vowed to support America First, MAGA-supporting candidates in GOP primaries, potentially against the likes of Lt. Gov. Duncan and displaced former House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.
Cheney was voted out of House GOP leadership last week largely because she opposed the former president and voted to impeach him after he left office. Staunch Trump-backer, Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., was voted in Friday to be Cheney's replacement in leadership after Trump and House GOP leadership's endorsement.
Duncan told The Atlanta-Journal Constitution he is "convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that by the time we get into the 2024 election cycle, a majority of Republicans" will buy into his vision.
"Any narrative from a Republican that the election was stolen, that it was a rigged election, is wasted energy," Duncan told the paper. "And it only continues to make the pathway to winning for Democrats even easier.
"It may be only a bold few to start with who join me, but I believe an overwhelming majority will eventually get there and get this party back on track."