Georgia Lt. Gov. unlikely to run again after taking on Trump

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Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan speaks during a news conference held by Gov. Brian Kemp at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta, Monday, March 22, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia’s lieutenant governor is unlikely to run for a second term, his chief of staff said Thursday, after he was among the most high-profile Republicans to openly contradict former President Donald Trump’s false claims about fraud in the November election.

Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan may instead take on a greater role with GOP 2.0, a group that is trying to help shape the party’s path forward in the post-Trump era, said Duncan’s chief of staff, John Porter.

Duncan has yet to make a final decision, Porter said.

Elected in 2018, Duncan became one of the first and most prominent Republicans in Georgia to break with Trump and the state Republican Party by pushing back on Trump’s baseless claims about election fraud in a series of interviews on national television.

Duncan has also broken with the conservative wing of his party on changes to Georgia’s election laws in the wake of Trump’s false claims. In an interview with CNN on Thursday, Duncan criticized a sweeping new election bill signed into law last month, calling parts of the bill “punitive.”

“This is really the fallout from the 10 weeks of misinformation that flew in from former President Donald Trump,” Duncan said.

His comments have given Duncan a national platform and won plaudits from moderates and even some Democrats. But they’ve also made him a target among the conservative base of the Republican Party, with some vowing to back a primary challenger should Duncan seek reelection.

Trump lost Georgia’s presidential contest to Democrat Joe Biden by more than 12,000 votes but quickly mounted a campaign to overturn the results.

Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has also been a critic of Trump’s efforts to subvert the election results and has said repeatedly that the election was free and fair. Raffensperger, who is running for reelection, is already being challenged by a candidate backed by Trump.