Fox News is reporting that Vernon Jones is expected to drop out of the governor’s race in Georgia after meeting with Trump down at Mar-a-lago:
A likely announcement by gubernatorial candidate Vernon Jones that he’s dropping out of Georgia’s GOP primary could come as early as Friday.
Two Republican sources familiar with the situation told Fox News on Wednesday that after meeting last week with Donald Trump and being offered the former president’s backing if he instead runs for Congress or another statewide office, Jones is currently “weighing his options.”
And they add that an announcement by the former Democratic state lawmaker turned Republican, who was a top Black surrogate for Trump in Georgia in the 2020 presidential election, could come between Friday and Monday.
Jones, who launched his 2022 gubernatorial campaign last April, is one of a handful of GOP candidates primary challenging conservative Gov. Brian Kemp.
Trump for months urged former GOP Sen. David Perdue to primary challenge the governor, and late last year he endorsed Perdue a day after the former senator declared his candidacy. Perdue jumped into the race days after Abrams, the voting rights champion and rising Democratic Party star, launched her second straight campaign for governor.
A source with knowledge of Jones’ meeting last week with Trump at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, told Fox News that Jones “walked away” from the encounter with Trump saying that he’d “have the full support of the president” if he exited the gubernatorial race and instead ran for House seats in either Georgia’s 6th or 10th Congressional Districts, or potentially a bid for state insurance commissioner.
The 10th CD is currently held GOP Rep. Jody Hice, another Trump loyalist, who’s primary challenging Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. In the 6th CD, Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath is running for reelection this year.
A second meeting between Trump and Jones at Mar-a-Lago is expected at the beginning of next week, the sources told Fox News.
An exit from the GOP gubernatorial primary by Jones would likely benefit Perdue. A Quinnipiac University poll conducted Jan. 19-24 indicated Kemp was backed by 43% of likely Republican primary voters, with 36% supporting Perdue and Jones at 10%. The other candidates registered in the lower single digits, with five percent undecided.
Here’s what Vernon said today about his political future:
There’s been a lot of speculation about my political future, as of late.
My priority is – and has been since Day One – is to do whatever it takes to defeat Brian Kemp who’s cowardice nearly cost us our country.
I will always stand with President Trump in anywhere I serve 🇺🇸
— Vernon Jones For Governor (@RepVernonJones) February 2, 2022