Georgia Republican convicted in January. 6 riots break out during televised congressional primary debate

Georgia congressional candidate convicted of misdemeanor for illegally protesting inside the U.S. Capitol on January 1. December 6, 2021 left a televised debate with a fellow Republican on Sunday before the runoff primary on June 18.

It’s the latest volatile twist in southwest Georgia’s 2nd Congressional District, where Chuck Hand and Wayne Johnson are vying for the Republican Party nomination to succeed the 16-term Democratic incumbent. Sanford Bishop in November.

Hand is one of at least four people convicted of the January crime. 6 felonies running for Congress this year, all Republicans. He was sentenced to 20 days in federal prison and six months of probation.

At the start of a debate sponsored by the Atlanta Press Club, Hand said he refused to debate Johnson after Michael Nixon, who finished third in the May 21 four-way primary, gave a news conference on last month endorsing Johnson.

Nixon brought a criminal trespass charge in 2005 and a DUI charge in 2010 against Hand, both of which were dismissed. Nixon also cited federal court documents to justify Hand’s participation in the January attacks. The riot of 6 was more serious than Hand had made it out to be.

“This is where I get back in my truck and head back to southwest Georgia because I have two races to win,” Hand said as he walked out of the studio as the cameras rolled.

“Aren’t you staying?” » asked presenter Donna Lowry. “Are you leaving, sir?” ALL RIGHT.”

“Wow, I don’t even know how to react,” Johnson said.

Johnson, a U.S. Department of Education official during Donald Trump’s administration, said Hand’s departure is further evidence that Hand is not fit to be the Republican nominee.

“I would like to assume that Chuck Hand’s departure, the way he did it today, was his withdrawal from the race,” Johnson told reporters afterward. “But it should definitely make people pause and think about why he did it and what he was trying to achieve by doing it.”

After Hand bowed out of the debate, he took questions from reporters for nearly 20 minutes, saying he believed Johnson helped orchestrate Nixon’s attacks. Hand was particularly critical of Nixon’s bringing up his wife’s prior conviction for illegally selling oxycodone.

“It’s perfectly fine to attack me as a candidate. I’m waiting for that. But to come out and publicly attack my wife, that’s a completely different situation,” Hand said. “My wife had paid her debt to society long before I met her.”

He attacked Johnson for not living within the district’s boundaries, which is not required for congressional candidates.

A construction superintendent who lives in rural Butler, Hand once again presents himself as leading a labor movement aimed at improving economic conditions in one of Georgia’s poorest regions. Hand said he would unite black and white workers under the banner of Donald Trump. Hand has disdained the traditional formal attire of political candidates throughout the campaign, wearing a blue denim shirt and a Caterpillar baseball cap on Sunday.

Johnson won nearly 45 percent of the vote in the May 21 primary, while Hand won nearly 32 percent. Since no one gets a majority, voters will decide the candidate in a runoff. In-person early voting begins Monday ahead of the June 18 election.

“It’s not money that’s going to win this election, it’s the heart that’s going to win it, it’s the voters that are going to do it,” Hand said. The coalition that we have built on the ground over these years will win these elections. It is the grassroots activists on the ground who have done the prep work who will win in November. America first? I am your 2nd District Premier candidate.

Johnson has taken a more moderate stance, saying any Republican who hopes to beat Bishop must do more to appeal to the largely black Democrats who supported the longtime incumbent. He said during the debate that he does not support Republicans’ proposed cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps.

“We’re going to have to transport 50,000 people who normally vote Democratic to vote Republican,” Johnson told reporters after the debate. “And it will basically be based on, ‘Can you prove to people, can you demonstrate to people in advance that you can actually improve their lives?’”

Johnson dismissed Hand’s attacks on him because he lived just outside the Macon district, saying he had invested in businesses in the district and would move to a home he owns in Plains, Jimmy Carter’s hometown, if elected.

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