Georgia Lt. Gov. candidate Burt Jones, Trump's pick, campaigns on election integrity

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Georgia state Sen. Burt Jones, the first elected official in that state to endorse Donald Trump for president in 2015, is running for lieutenant governor on a platform of election integrity, economic growth, education reform, and support for the police. Jones, who received Trump's endorsement in September, laid out his plan in an interview with Fox News.

"My four priorities as Georgia’s next lieutenant governor will be to strengthen election integrity, reignite our economy, improve our education system and stand with our law enforcement to strengthen public safety," Jones said.

Jones castigated his fellow elected officials for delaying an investigation into irregularities in the 2020 election.

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"We had a litany of problems, but nobody was willing to investigate them," Jones told Fox News. "The majority of the legislators and officeholders around the state didn’t want to investigate anything."

Burt Jones, a Georgia State Senator and candidate for Lieutenant Governor in 2022. (Courtesy Burt Jones)

He claimed that drop boxes were a "huge factor" in 2020 election concerns. He said, "there was a chain-of-custody issue where drop boxes would go missing for days at a time." He mentioned "allegations of ballot stuffing" in those boxes and leniency on signature verification.

Jones only tepidly supported S.B. 202, the election reform bill that President Biden demonized as "Jim Crow on steroids."

The Republican suggested that voter turnout suffered during the U.S. Senate runoff elections on Jan. 5, 2021, because "it seemed like there was no one trying to address or look into" these concerns.

Jones and three other state Senate Republicans signed a petition calling on the Georgia General Assembly to award Georgia's 16 electors to Trump, who lost the state to Biden by 0.23% of the vote, according to the official results. In Jan. 2021, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan stripped Jones of his chairmanship and membership of the state Senate Insurance and Labor Committee.

Duncan decided not to run for reelection.

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Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger contested Jones' election-related claims in a statement to Fox News.

"Together with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, investigators in my office have looked into hundreds of allegations of voter fraud since the November 2020 election but have found nothing that puts the overall integrity of Georgia’s elections in doubt or anything even close to putting the election results in question," Raffensperger said. "Thankfully, many conservatives recognize that we had a free and fair election but came up short, and that the people of Georgia are better off if we look forward rather than relitigating the past."

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during a presser Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during a presser Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Jones told Fox News he would push for the legislature to "get rid of machines and return to paper ballots," if elected lieutenant governor.

On the economy, he said he would cut the state income tax, reduce regulations on small businesses, and lower fees and costs. On education, Jones vowed to "prioritize vocational and technical education in K-12, lower the cost of higher education, and ban critical race theory and infuse more civics-based curriculum."

He also vowed to champion public safety, increasing funding and enhancing retirement benefits for law enforcement and strengthening penalties for sex traffickers, gang members, and repeat offenders.

Jones expressed confidence in his standing in the race, particularly due to Trump's endorsement.

"I’m honored to have President Trump’s complete and total endorsement for lieutenant governor because I’m the only person in my race who has fought for the President from day one—and I’ll continue to do that as we deliver results for every Georgia family," he said.

FILE - Georgia state Sen. Senator Burt Jones (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, File)

FILE - Georgia state Sen. Senator Burt Jones (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, File) (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Jones, a sixth-generation Georgian, attended the University of Georgia and served as football team captain for the 2002 season, helping to steer the team to its first SEC championship in 20 years. He previously considered a run for lieutenant governor in 2018, but decided against it for family and business reasons.

Jones faces state Sen. Butch Miller, the Senate president pro-tempore, who announced his campaign in May.

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In Georgia, voters elect the governor and the lieutenant governor separately. While the lieutenant governor would replace the governor should the post become vacant, the lieutenant governor's primary job is to serve as president of Georgia's state Senate. Jones has served in the state Senate for nearly nine years.

Tyler O'Neil Fox News