EXCLUSIVE – A state senator in Georgia who’s a strong supporter of former President Donald Trump is vowing to “investigate and expose all voter fraud” as he runs next year for lieutenant governor.
Republican state Sen. Burt Jones makes his pledge in the first TV and digital commercial of his campaign, which was shared first on Monday with Fox News.
“Let me ask you a simple question – if there wasn’t any cheating or fraud in the 2020 election, why every time we call for a full investigation, the Stacey Abrams and the Democrats respond like this,” Jones argues as he speaks to camera in the spot.
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The ad, titled “Scream,” then shows a montage of people screaming, blocking their ears, freaking out and fleeing in panic.
“Pretty much tells you everything you need to know,” Jones charges. “I’m going to make sure we investigate and expose all voter fraud. Because that’s what real leadership does.”
Jones’ campaign tells Fox News that it’s spending six-figures to run the ad on TV and digital statewide in Georgia starting this week.
Georgia was long a reliably red state. But now-President Biden narrowly edged Trump in the Peach State in November, becoming the first Democrat to win the state in a presidential election in more than a quarter-century. The ballots in Georgia were counted three times – the original Election Day count, a mandatory hand recount and a recount requested by the president’s campaign, and each time Biden’s razor-thin margin was upheld.
Trump refused to concede to Biden and claimed for two months that there was massive voter fraud in Georgia and five other states where Biden also narrowly won. Dozens of legal challenges by Trump and his allies were shot down, and then-Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department had not seen fraud on the kind of scale that could flip the election.
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The former president continues to repeatedly make unsubstantiated claims that the election was “rigged” and “stolen.” Trump has also vowed to return to the Peach State to campaign against Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, to punish his onetime ally for refusing to help his efforts last year to overturn the Georgia election results. And he’s also backing a GOP primary challenge next year against GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who also refused to aid Trump’s efforts to flip the results in Georgia.
Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, who was highly critical of Trump’s voter fraud claims, announced in May that he would not seek another term next year and will instead lead a group called GOP 2.0 meant to chart the party’s path forward in a post-Trump era.
Jones, who was first elected to the state senate in 2012, touted when he announced his candidacy for lt. governor last week that he was the first elected official in Georgia to endorse Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
And Jones, who lives in Jackson, Georgia, roughly 50 miles southeast of Atlanta, spotlighted that he’s running on a conservative platform of reducing regulations and state taxes, cracking down on crime, and restoring confidence in elections.
Jones joined a race for the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor that also includes state Sen. Butch Miller, the chamber’s president pro tempore.
Miller presided over the passage of earlier this year Georgia’s new election security law. The controversial measure, passed the by GOP-controlled legislature and signed by Kemp into law, is praised by Republicans as an effort to improve election integrity and pilloried by Democrats as a voter suppression move. Miller is also calling for a Trump backed audit of the presidential election results in Democratic-controlled Fulton County.
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But regardless, the former president said last month that he would not endorse Miller because he did not sufficiently support Trump’s unfounded claims that the election was stolen. The former president last month issued a statement praising Jones for supporting his election charges. And the Jones campaign is hopeful that a Trump endorsement may come in the months ahead.
Jones, who was a team captain on the University of Georgia football team two decades ago, mulled a 2018 bid for lieutenant governor but ultimately decided against running. The 2022 primary is in May of next year.
Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this report.