Ex-Rep. Geoff Duncan, R-Cumming, who this week resigned his seat in the Georgia House of Representatives to concentrate on a run for Lieutenant Governor, was rebuked by Republican party leaders and at least one early supporter of his candidacy.
In his resignation statement, Duncan lashed out at his opponents with vague and unsubstantiated allegations of “corruption and wrongdoing” that he promised to “expose” at some point in the future.
Duncan is opposed in the Republican primary by Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer, R-Duluth, and Senator Rick Jeffares, R-McDonough. Duncan blasted Shafer, the frontrunner, by name, vowing to “end his political charade” and suggesting that he was in league with Democrats.
Shafer is a former executive director of the Georgia Republican Party and longtime Republican.
The Duncan attacks on Shafer were swiftly denounced by Sue Everhart, a former state chairman of the Georgia Republican Party who has not publicly taken sides in the race for Lieutenant Governor.
“I have known David Shafer for twenty five years,” said Everhart. “He is a man of integrity and honesty. He helped build the Republican party. He has served in the State Senate with honor. I am not involved in the race for Lieutenant Governor but I am very disappointed by the false attacks on his loyalty to the party, his public service and his character. They are ridiculous and should stop. We should focus our fire on the Democrats who would run this country into the ground.”
Duncan also received a rebuke from Bob Shaw, another former state chairman of the Georgia Republican Party.
“As someone who has spent the last half century helping build the Republican Party in Georgia, I am very disappointed to see Mr. Duncan making these false and outlandish attacks on his fellow Republicans. He is hurting his own candidacy, damaging the party and embarrassing his supporters,” said Shaw
The Shafer campaign dismissed the Duncan allegations with a statement from campaign spokesman Emily Grosshans: “It is sad to watch Mr. Duncan stoop to insults and wild falsehoods. We will remain focused on promoting Senator Shafer’s record of conservative legislative accomplishments as he continues to gain support from across the State.”
At least one Duncan supporter distanced himself both from Duncan’s allegations and candidacy.
John Stacy, an early financial backer of Duncan’s campaign, denounced the attacks and said he had switched his support to Shafer.
“I have worked with David Shafer for many years in my roles with Paul Coverdell, Zell Miller and Lynn Westmoreland,” said Stacy. “I have always found him to be honest and straightforward. People should never throw out innuendos without providing proof. I am from the Reagan school, Republicans don’t speak ill of other Republicans.”
Shafer was elected to the State Senate in 2002 and as President Pro Tempore of the Senate in 2013. He has been re-elected to twice. Shafer has already secured a number of major endorsements, including the support of former Presidential candidate and Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, philanthropist and Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former U.S. Rep. John Linder.
Jeffares was elected to the State Senate in 2010. He has been endorsed by U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson.
Duncan was elected to the House in 2012. His resignation is effective September 18, according to his letter.