ATLANTA — Mike Collins, the owner of a trucking company, easily won the Republican runoff election for Georgia’s 10th congressional district on Tuesday, knocking out Vernon Jones, a former state lawmaker and Democrat-turned-Republican who had the support of former President Donald J. .Trump.
Mr. Collins’ victory was announced by the The Switzerland Times. If he wins the general election in November, he will represent a staunchly conservative district that stretches from suburban Atlanta to Augusta.
Mr Collins has benefited from name recognition in the district – he ran for the seat in 2014 and narrowly lost to Jody Hice – and higher fundraising than the rest of the main field. He received an endorsement from Gov. Brian Kemp in the final week of the runoff campaign, marking the governor’s first and only endorsement in a primary.
Mr. Jones jumped first in the Republican primary for governor, challenging Mr. Kemp. But Mr Trump persuaded him to move on to the House race in a bid to clear the ground for his favored candidate, former Senator David Perdue, who lost last month. Mr. Jones, a former DeKalb County leader, has struggled to raise funds and win the trust of some voters in light of his past in Democratic politics. He also faced charges of misconduct towards women, which he denied.
But he relied on his endorsement of Mr Trump, posing as a black conservative in the mold of the former president. In fiery speeches and public statements, Mr. Jones repeatedly insulted Mr. Kemp and prominent Democrats while echoing Mr. Trump’s false allegations of voter fraud.
The run-off campaign between Mr. Jones and Mr. Collins got personal in his final weeks. Mr. Collins, whose father represented the region in Congress, described Mr. Jones as an outsider and an opportunist. Mr Collins’ campaign handed out anti-rape whistles bearing Mr Jones’ name, alluding to the misconduct charges.
Mr. Collins took the stunt further, write on twitter that a handgun was a more effective method of self-defense against sexual assault. Mr Jones then filed a police report claiming Mr Collins was encouraging violence.