Mike Collins, a businessman who was endorsed by Gov. Brian Kemp, will win the Republican nomination for Georgia’s 10th Congressional District, CNN projects.
Collins, who won a plurality of votes in the May 24 primary, will defeat Vernon Jones, a former Democrat-turned-Republican who had the endorsement of former President Donald Trump. Both advanced to the runoff after being the top two candidates in a crowded field.
The endorsement from Kemp, which followed the governor’s overwhelming victory in his own primary against the Trump-backed David Perdue, gave Collins an important boost over Jones, who had initially run against Kemp in the gubernatorial primary before dropping out to run for the House.
Trump rewarded Jones for clearing the “Trump lane” for Perdue by endorsing him for the exurban-heavy seat. A longtime Democrat, Jones was nonetheless a vocal supporter of Trump during the 2020 election and even spoke at the Republican National Convention. He officially switched parties months later, in 2021. Jones also made the move from his home in DeKalb County in Atlanta, where he had been the county’s chief executive officer and a state representative, to the 10th district.
But on the issues, Jones and Collins were largely indistinguishable. Like Jones, Collins ran as a “conservative outsider” and embraced a populist conservative agenda. He also falsely claimed that the 2020 election in Georgia was “stolen” by Joe Biden and the Democrats.
Collins is running for the seat held by Rep. Jody Hice, who ran unsuccessfully for secretary of state against Brad Raffensperger. Collins previously ran for Congress in 2014, losing the GOP nomination to Hice. His father, Mike Collins, was a congressman and Senate candidate in 2004.
The district is heavily Republican, and Collins is expected to keep the seat in GOP hands in November.