Trump-Backed Newcomer vs. State GOP Members in Georgia House Race


DOUGLASVILLE, Georgia — Mike Dugan is eager to share his history and his goals for a congressional term.

“People like to know that whoever they’re going to hire has some experience,” the seasoned state senator stated at a campaign stop at American Legion Post 145. “Your message, and your experience, is what attracts people to your campaign.”

Dugan, aiming to become the Republican nominee for Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District, is not the sole candidate with a background in Georgia politics. Mike Crane was also a state senator, serving with Dugan for a few years. Philip Singleton held a state representative position until 2023, and Jim Bennett has been a Republican activist and entered the race even before current Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA) announced his retirement.

Mike Dugan, center, speaks to (from left to right) Herman Willoughby, Bill Aiken, and Bob Proctor at American Legion Post 145. (Haisten Willis/Truth Voices)

All candidates hope their backgrounds and district ties will resonate more with voters than former President Donald Trump’s endorsement of the fifth competitor, Brian Jack.

“[Jack] represents a New Generation of Leadership, and he will be a GREAT Congressman, working closely with me and other Republicans to fix the damage Joe Biden has done to our Country,” Trump posted on Truth Social on March 7. “Brian is a man of Loyalty, Honesty, and Integrity, and will never let the fabulous people of Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District down.”

Jack, an adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign and political director in the Trump White House, has raised substantial funds, much of it from sources outside Georgia. His campaign signs prominently feature “Trump endorsed” alongside his name. However, Jack’s late entry and lack of experience in the west-central Georgia district give opponents hope for a win or a runoff on June 18.

“I think the folks in the third district, myself included, are really tired of the D.C. elites picking who our Congressperson is,” Crane, who narrowly lost to Ferguson in 2016, remarked. “So when this opportunity came up, we knew it was something worth venturing, giving people a chance to have their voice heard in D.C. instead of the other way around.”

Ferguson announced his retirement last December. The district, heavily Republican, spans Atlanta’s far southern suburbs and a lengthy strip along the Alabama-Georgia border, suggesting the GOP primary winner is likely to secure the general election.

Dugan, currently behind Jack and Crane in fundraising, has concentrated on grassroots campaign efforts via a “truck tour” of the district. He categorizes voters into three groups: diehard Trump supporters, Trump supporters open to non-Trump candidates, and those who don’t favor Trump.

All candidates endorse Trump against President Joe Biden and share similar stances on issues like the economy and immigration. However, each has unique elements. Dugan emphasizes his legislative accomplishments as Senate majority leader, including income tax cuts and election integrity measures, showcasing his effectiveness.

Crane argues that Congress needs to draft legislation so specifically that it prevents executive branch reinterpretation, a task he claims his attention to detail can address.

“We’ve got to get specific because we see what happens when we’re not,” he noted.

Efforts to contact Jack, Singleton, and Bennett were unsuccessful.

Brian Jack is making sure voters know he has Donald Trump’s support. (Haisten Willis/Truth Voices)

Trump’s endorsement has been influential and challenging since his political emergence nearly a decade ago, but it hasn’t guaranteed success in Georgia. For instance, Trump-backed challengers to Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA) and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, as well as Senate candidate Herschel Walker, failed two years ago.

While Jack frequently references Trump in his campaign, other candidates are undeterred.

“I don’t have to convince people to not vote for Brian Jack,” Singleton told the Associated Press. “Nobody knows who Brian Jack is.”

Crane emphasizes the importance of conveying his intentions rather than relying on endorsements.

“I’m there to get the job done and make sure we get our country on track,” he stated.

Haisten Willis
Haisten Willis
White House Reporter. Before moving to D.C., Haisten was an Atlanta-based freelance journalist, writing for the Washington Post, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and U.S. News & World Report, among other outlets. From 2020 to 2022, he was the national Freedom of Information Committee chairman at the Society of Professional Journalists.

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