Duncan, a vocal critic of former President Trump’s repeated efforts to reverse his razor-thin November election defeat in battleground Georgia to now-President Biden, said he’ll serve out his remaining 19 months in office but would also begin work toward “healing and rebuilding a Republican Party that is damaged but not destroyed.”
“It always feels coldest right before the sun rises,” Duncan said in a statement that he released on Twitter. “I believe that is the exact moment in time the Republican Party is caught in right now, and I am committed to being a part of creating those better days ahead for our conservative party all across the country.
“The national events of the last six months have deeply affected my family in ways I would have never imagined when I first asked for their support to run for Lieutenant Governor in 2017,” he wrote. “Through all of the highs and lows of the last six months, they have never left my side and are once again united behind me in my pursuit of a better way forward for our conservative party – a GOP 2.0.”
Biden last November became the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Georgia in a quarter-century, as he defeated Trump by less than 12,000 votes out of nearly 5 million cast. The ballots in the state were counted three times – the original Election Day count, a mandatory hand recount and a recount requested by Trump’s campaign.
Trump alleged without providing concrete proof that there was massive voter fraud in Georgia and five other states where Biden narrowly won. Dozens of legal challenges by Trump and his allies were shot down, and then-Attorney General William Barr said his Justice Department had not seen fraud on a scale that could flip the election. Trump has repeatedly attacked Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Duncan for refusing to aid his attempts to reverse Biden’s victory in Georgia.
Duncan, a former health care executive and minor league baseball player who served three terms in the Georgia House of Representatives before winning election as lieutenant governor in 2018, has urged fellow Republicans to move past Trump. And he was critical of a controversial voting access bill pushed by state Republican lawmakers and signed into law by Kemp, refusing to preside over a state Senate vote on the measure.
Duncan would have likely faced primary challenges and a difficult reelection if he had sought to serve a second term. His announcement will likely spark a spate of announcements of Republicans eager to replace him. Several Democratic contenders have already announced bids.
Kemp and Raffensperger are already facing Republican primary challengers as they each run for reelection next year.