In a surprise turn of events, former Democratic candidate for Georgia lieutenant governor Kwanza Hall endorsed Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and his running mate, state Sen. Bert Jones. While it’s unclear if Hall’s last-minute endorsement will sway Black voters, it turned some heads.
Despite finishing first in the spring primary election, Hall was slammed in the runoff election by now-Democratic nominee Charlie Bailey. Bailey, endorsed by Stacey Abrams, showed up for a debate that Hall instead chose to skip.
After watching Sen. Jon Ossoff debate an empty podium in the 2020 election, it’s unclear why any candidate would think it is wise not to show up. Runoffs are all about effort and turnout. Hall fell short.
Besides having a Black-sounding name and not being motivated by Bailey, it’s unclear whether voters were drawn to Hall because they believed in him. Rounding out the top three in the lieutenant governor race was state Rep. Renitta Shannon.
Hall’s cross-party endorsement is reminiscent of former state Sen. Vernon Jones’s dalliance with the right. Vernon Jones tried to run for Congress as a Republican earlier this cycle but lost in a June runoff election.
Hall also temporarily served in Congress after the passing of the late Rep. John Lewis and ahead of the election of Rep. Nikema Williams. Williams has been seen by many as Lewis’s heir apparent.
Endorsing against the Abrams ticket is clearly meant to send a message. Why else would one vote against the platform and values Hall claimed to suppo as a Democrat? Like Vernon Jones, some see Hall as an opportunist who blows with the wind hoping to access or even a position in the new administration.
Georgia native, Fair Fight alum and Care In Action executive director Hillary Holley called Hall the “king of gentrification” in a tweet responding to the news.
“When people ask me what brought me to this work,” Holley tweeted. “One main reason was Kwanza Hall completely destroying Atlanta’s historical Black neighborhood the Old Fourth Ward. Kwanza is literally the king of gentrification in Atlanta. Sold out our elders faster than anyone could imagine.”
State Sen. Bert Jones thanked Hall on social media for his support. Bert Jones was a part of the fake elector scheme to undermine the 2020 election. As reported by WABE, Jones has continued to amplify unfounded claims about voter fraud in the Peach state.
He has escaped investigation because of politics, not any absolution of guilt. The investigation into potential Republican election interference couldn’t be expanded to Bert Jones because the prosecutor supports his Democratic opponent.