Jeremy Hunt, Chris West make final public appearance ahead of Tuesday runoff, former opponent files lawsuit
The two candidates vying for the Republican nomination for Georgia's Second Congressional District seat made a final public appearance Thursday ahead of Tuesday's runoff election day. One of their former opponents was there, too.
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The two candidates vying for the Republican nomination for Georgia’s Second Congressional District seat made a final public appearance Thursday ahead of Tuesday’s runoff election day.
One of their former opponents was there, too.
Less than three hours before Thursday’s monthly Bibb County GOP meeting, held at Pine Forest Baptist Church on Tucker Road, Johnson filed a civil racketeering lawsuit against Hunt, Fox News and Fox News host Brian Kilmeade.
Johnson says Fox News allowed Hunt an unfair amount of air time leading up to the May 24 primary, which led to increased campaign contributions. The lawsuit claims Hunt, the network and Kilmeade colluded to provide nearly $3 million worth of “free airtime” to Hunt to help ensure his selection as the Republican nominee in the Second Congressional District.
“As a candidate seeking to be the Republican nominee for the 2nd District, I witnessed firsthand the extent to which Washington DC political operatives, along with Fox News, have undertaken to steal our congressional representation,” Johnson said in a statement. “We also include in the filed complaint various actions we believe have been undertaken by U.S. Senator Tom Cotton in fostering unlawful political fundraising.”
While speaking at Thursday’s Bibb County GOP meeting, Hunt accused Johnson and West of conspiring to file the suit because they finished behind him in the May 24 primary. West said he had nothing to do with the suit. Hunt then asked him to condemn it.
That’s when Johnson spoke up from the back of the room.
“I am the one that sued you,” he said. “Not Chris West. I sued you and Fox for fraud, and you can go read the lawsuit.”
“So now we’re going to GOP meetings and having Republicans suing other Republicans?” Hunt asked. “We don’t have time for these games.”
We spoke with Hunt after the meeting.
“It’s just ridiculous that we have Republicans suing other Republicans because they came in third place,” he said. “Wayne Johnson has lost two elections. Now he’s trying to file a lawsuit against me. I think it’s absolutely ridiculous. I think it’s dirty, low, sore loser politics.”
West didn’t join Johnson in filing the lawsuit, but he has raised concerns about Hunt’s candidacy.
“I found that he lived in New Haven, Connecticut early this year,” he said. “So I thought he was a little dishonest with the people here tonight in not saying that he’d been living in New Haven, Connecticut the last couple years and just rented an apartment in Columbus (Georgia) earlier this year solely for the purpose of running for this seat.”
Hunt called that accusation a lie.
“I’m a lifelong Georgian,” he said. “A sixth generation Georgian. My grandmother was born here in Georgia. Her grandparents were freed slaves literally in south Georgia, and my grandmother, just two generations from slavery, went to Fort Valley State University, said, ‘I’m not a victim; I’m going to get my education.'”
West maintains he’s lived and worked in the district his entire life and that he’s the only man who can beat Democrat Sanford Bishop this fall. Bishop has held the seat for 30 years.
“I’ve created a lot of jobs through our company in this district,” he said. “I serve in the military at Robins Air Force Base as an officer in Georgia’s Air National Guard. I love these people. The community here, this is where I’ve grown up and where I live, and I think the way we beat Sanford Bishop is somebody who’s from here, who understands agriculture, and who’s going to be able to win these ag voters that have been reliably voting for Sanford Bishop, and I can do that.”
Election day is Tuesday, June 21.