Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, a Republican, thinks his party is at a crossroads heading into the 2022 midterm elections. And he says Republican voters must choose between believing conspiracy theories against debunked voter fraud and moving forward with a new leadership that will push the party to a better place.
We’re either going to appease and play populism one on one and try to live 10 seconds at a time, or we’re going to show real leadership, Duncan, who describes himself as a lifelong conservative, told Yahoo News, mocking the notion that the strongest voices in the GOP are the most influential.
I do not think so [Fox News host] Tucker Carlson or [Texas Sen.] Ted Cruz are the leaders of our party. I think that would take us in the wrong direction just because of the tone.
It is time to turn the page, he added. It is time to move on.
Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan. (John Amis/AP)
Duncan, Georgia’s second-in-command behind Gov. Brian Kemp, also a Republican, has catapulted himself into the national spotlight over the past 14 months after clashing with former President Donald Trump over Trump’s unfounded voter fraud allegations. . Trump called Duncan corrupt and too stupid to admit voter fraud in December 2020 and said he should be replaced. But at a time when many Republican leaders either supported Trump’s lies or remained silent, Duncan pushed back.
When you have a sitting president willing to lie to America and his party about the true realities of the election and willing to fan the fire and send incredibly hateful tweets and cause all kinds of disruption including [the Capitol riot on] January 6, to play out, so of course it will take time to unravel those comments and that kind of ideology, Duncan said.
Polls suggest most Republicans believe President Biden cheated to win the 2020 election. A Yahoo News/YouGov poll released last week showed that only 9% of Trump voters believe Biden won the election. fair and square.
The story continues
And Republicans don’t seem to be on the same page when it comes to condemning the Capitol insurrection on January 6, 2021.
Trump supporters storm the Capitol following a rally on Jan. 6, 2021. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
Last week, on the first anniversary of Jan. 6, Kemp, Duncan and Republican Georgia House Speaker David Ralston all condemned what Ralston called the despicable criminal behavior of pro-Trump rioters. But Carlson, who has promoted Jan. 6 conspiracy theories, took a different approach, mocking Cruz for calling it a terrorist attack.
Every word used by Ted Cruz is used intentionally. He’s a lawyer, Carlson said on his Fox News program. He described January 6 as a violent terrorist attack. Of all the things January 6 was, it certainly wasn’t a violent terrorist attack. It was not an insurrection. Was it a riot? Sure. It was not a violent terrorist attack.
Cruz later appeared on the Carlsons show to apologize for his remarks.
Seeking to push the idea of renaming the Republican Party, Duncan has focused on creating an advocacy organization called GOP 2.0, which he says advocates putting politics above politics.
We forgot to be more inclusive and make the tent bigger, and we forgot to have an encouraging tone, Duncan said. This is not some kind of electoral fraud. It is our fault as a party.
Donald Trump. (Andrew Harrer, Pool/Getty Images)
That’s what the GOP 2.0 is trying to undo this damage and really trying to create a safe place to call home people like me who are fiery conservatives, he added. I believe in conservative principles from start to finish. I don’t think I should be angry when I do.
Duncan has decided not to run again this fall. Instead, he says he seeks to connect with Americans across the country through speeches, media events and a new book. Eventually, however, he hopes to run for office again in the future.
I love the job of lieutenant governor, but I can’t have a conversation with America if I’m trying to run for office only in Georgia, he said.
After two close election cycles in Georgia, Kemp and Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock will be on the ballot in Peach State in November. Kemp also faces a primary challenge from former GOP Sen. David Perdue, who says he wouldn’t have certified Bidens’ victory in Georgia and won Trump’s endorsement.
Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., at a 2020 campaign event. (Megan Varner/Getty Images)
Duncan says Georgia voters will now decide America’s trajectory and he hopes they land on the right side of history.
I think so many people are now waking up on both sides of the aisle and kind of thinking that our best, best days in America are behind us. It’s not true. It’s America. Our best days are ahead of us, he says. We are going to be the testing ground to find out who is right.
Cover thumbnail illustration: Yahoo News; photos: John Bazemore/AP Photo, Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images, Janos Kummer/Getty Images
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