The AJC is reporting that state Sen. Rick Jeffares of McDonough has filed paperwork to run for lieutenant governor in 2018. He joins the Republican field, which already includes Senate Pro Tempore David Shafer of Duluth and state Rep. Geoff Duncan of Cumming.
There wasn’t much chatter about Jeffares running for the position until very recently. He keeps a relatively low profile in the state senate, where he chairs the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee. He is known for being a man of few words whenever he speaks on the floor of the senate. Last session he carried a bill that would have prohibited new oil pipelines in Georgia’s coastal counties. Despite being backed by House Majority Leader Jon Burns and Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Hill, the bill did not make it through.
Jeffares likely faces an uphill climb for the Republican nomination. Shafer is the current favorite as he has picked up the endorsement of state Sen. Burt Jones (a wealthy middle-Georgian who was previously considering a run) and the support of Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus. Moreover, he is generally thought to come from the wing of the party that has access to major dollar donors. If the Senate Republicans consolidate around one candidate, it will almost surely be him.
Duncan leans toward the conservative wing of the House Republicans, often voting with the far-right Appeal to Heaven caucus. Jeffares is more enigmatic, with the oil pipeline ban being his only major initiative last year.
The word is that state Sen. Butch Miller is no longer planning on running. Other names that have been mentioned include state senators Steve Gooch and John Kennedy and state Rep. Allen Peake.