49.9%: David Shafer concedes defeat in GOP lieutenant governor runoff, won’t seek recount

By Curt Yeomans, curt.yeomans@gwinnettdailypost.com


State Sen. David Shafer, R-Duluth, ended his bid to be Georgia’s next lieutenant governor Wednesday, telling supporters he will not seek a recount of the narrow runoff results.

The results of the runoff were well within the state’s one percent threshold that allows the losing candidate of an election to seek a recount. Shafer got 49.9 percent of the votes cast in the Republican runoff, but said the completion of the counting of provisional ballots led him to believe it was time to move on.

“We came very close,” Shafer said in his letter to supporters. “I am entitled to an automatic recount because the margin is so narrow, but I have no plans to ask for one. First, I do not believe that retabulating the electronic voting machines will change the outcome. Second, with the general election less than 14 weeks away, it is time to unify behind our Republican nominees.”

Shafer’s decision clears the way for former state Rep. Geoff Duncan to be the Republican Party’s nominee for lieutenant governor. Duncan will face the Democratic party’s nominee, Sarah Riggs Amico, in the Nov. 6 general election.

Duncan thanked Shafer for his involvement with the party, both as a legislator and previously as a state party official.

“Primary elections are tough family discussions and my election with David was no different,” the former legislator said in a statement. “David was a tough as nails, talented opponent who ultimately made me a better candidate. David’s selfless action allows our campaign to immediately focus on winning the general election against a liberal Democrat who won her primary more than 10 weeks ago.”

Shafer said he had committed to Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the Republican party’s nominee for governor, that he would support the GOP ticket this fall.

“As I have done in every election since I have been old enough to vote, I will be working hard for a Republican victory up and down the ballot,” the former Senate president pro tempore said.

The senator did not mention Duncan by name, however, at any point in his letter to supporters.

Instead, Shafer thanked them for their support, saying he was grateful to them for their endorsements or volunteering of time to the campaign.

“My heart hurts for all those who worked so hard on my behalf,” Shafer said. “I am sorry that we were not victorious. But please do not hurt for me. My life is richly blessed and I am at peace with the outcome of this election. God has a plan for me and it did not end on the day of the Republican Primary Runoff.”

After a runoff where Republican voters were virtually split 50-50 over who they wanted as their nominee, Duncan must now pull the party together behind his bid to be lieutenant governor. He acknowledged he needs help from Shafer’s supporters to defeat Amico in November.

“Let me be clear, it will be extraordinarily difficult to win in November without David Shafer and his supporters, and I look forward to working together over the next three months to unite with the ultimate goal of defeating an energized and very liberal Democrat base,” Duncan said.