Georgia Republican banks on ties to Washington to facilitate nomination for open congressional seat

NEWNAN, Ga. (AP) — Backed by Donald Trump, Republican Brian Jack is trying to fight his way to the nomination for an open Georgia congressional seat through his alignment with the former president and other national GOP figures .

But opponent Mike Dugan argues that Jack’s Washington insider status is a liability, saying voters should instead prefer his “Georgian values.”

Jack, 36, is from Peachtree City. He worked on the 2016 Trump campaign and served for four years as White House political director. After that, he worked for then-Speaker of the House. Kevin McCarthy.

This experience brought Jack not only Trump’s endorsement, but also fundraising from McCarthy and other top Congressional Republicans. In the final week, a parade of congressional notables will campaign for him, including Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan on Monday. Another of Jack’s former bosses, former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, is expected to replace him on Thursday.

“In me, you have someone who has worked alongside President Trump for the last eight years, someone who President Trump has supported, someone who President Trump trusts to be an ally of the ‘America first,’ Jack said Monday after a rally in Newnan with Jordan. “I think that’s what our congressional district wants.”

Dugan, the 60-year-old former Senate majority leader, argued in an Atlanta Press Club debate Sunday that voters should prefer his experience as a policymaker and coalition builder, noting that Jack had no helped those who made decisions. Dugan also claims that Jack is a “DC insider” whose ties to Georgia have frayed since he moved away for college, noting that Jack’s donations come primarily from out of state.

“So do you want someone who has actually lived here in the district, who has worked in the district, whose family is here in the district?,” Dugan told reporters after the debate. “Or do you want someone who’s from Washington DC, been there the whole time since they graduated from college?

Both men are trying to push voters to the polls ahead of what could be very low turnout in the June 18 runoff. The winner will be the favorite to succeed the Republican U.S. representative Drew Fergusonwho is retiring after four terms.

The 3rd District runs along the Alabama state line from Carrollton south to Columbus and extends east to the southern Atlanta suburbs, with Republicans typically winning about two-thirds of the votes. votes, according to the Princeton Gerrymandering Project.

Democrat Maura Keller awaits the GOP nominee in November, after defeating Val Almonord in that party’s May 21 primary.

The second round remained mostly polite, with both men throwing in a few attacking attempts, but not really pushing them for home. On Sunday, for example, Jack criticized Dugan for voting in favor of a 2015 road funding package pushed by Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, calling it “the largest tax increase in Georgia history.”

Dugan parried, noting…

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