Although Donald Trump’s hand-picked challengers in two Georgia Republican congressional runoffs lost in blowout fashion Tuesday, voters still chose candidates who staunchly support the former president’s agenda.

In Georgia’s 10th Congressional District GOP runoff, trucking executive Mike Collins trounced former Democratic lawmaker-turned-Trump supporter Vernon Jones. In the newly redrawn 6th Congressional District, emergency room doctor Rich McCormick dispatched attorney Jake Evans.

The Associated Press called both races based on the wide margins of the results reported and projected number of ballots remaining. 

In Southwest Georgia’s 2nd Congressional District, frontrunner Jeremy Hunt was projected to fall to Chris West, with 90% of precincts reporting. Hunt, while never fully endorsed by Trump, was the chosen benefactor of funding doled out by the national GOP group WinRed. As such, a loss to West could still be seen as a rebuke to the leader of the Republican Party.

Georgia politics have remained an obsession for the former president since his narrow defeat in the 2020 presidential election and after top officials refused to overturn the results. He vowed to punish Gov. Brian Kemp, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and others in this year’s primary, but his chosen candidates fizzled out, with many losing by about 50 points in the May 24 election. 

Only football star Herschel Walker and state Sen. Burt Jones prevailed in races for U.S. Senate and lieutenant governor, respectively. But Trump’s endorsement might not have been necessary to secure victory. Walker enjoys near-universal name recognition after winning the Heisman Trophy while playing football at the University of Georgia and Jones loaned his campaigns millions of dollars to beat fellow state Sen. Butch Miller and others.

Republican voters in Georgia appeared to reject Trump and his candidates’ focus on false claims of election fraud, instead rewarding incumbents like Kemp, Raffensperger and Attorney General Chris Carr with resounding victories.

Though McCormick and Collins did not earn Trump’s endorsement, both candidates will nonetheless likely enter Congress as staunch defenders of his agenda.

“We’re going to fight for our constitutional rights, we’re going to go up and we’re going to cut spending, we’re securing our borders,” Collins said in Jackson to a roomful of supporters Tuesday night. “We’re going to fight for energy independence and we’re going to get the federal government out of your way.”

McCormick told a crowd in Cumming that he received a congratulatory call from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and said he’s got a “job to do” as the nominee.

“We want to make sure this nation turns out to be the same nation that gave the amazing opportunities that we’ve had for centuries now; that people continue to come here for those unique opportunities that only exist in America,” he said. “That’s what we’re fighting for.”

This story comes to Reporter Newspapers / Atlanta Intown through a reporting partnership with GPB News, a non-profit newsroom covering the state of Georgia.

Stephen Fowler | GPB

Stephen Fowler is an award-winning reporter and photographer for GPB News covering state and local politics.