Mike Collins obliterated Vernon Jones in the runoff race in GA-10 on Tuesday. As of 8:50 p.m. Collins was leading Jones 77.07% to 23.93%.
Vernon Jones, who was urged by former President Donald Trump to jump from the gubernatorial race in Georgia to the 10th district race for Congress to replace Congressman Jody Hice, is no stranger to losses.
Jones ran for United States Senate in 2008, but lost in the Democratic Primary to Jim Martin. Two years later, Jones ran for Congress in the 4th Congressional District and lost and four years after that, decided to run for Sheriff of DeKalb County, losing 76%-24% over Sheriff Jeff Mann.
When He Actually Won
Jones has been in elected office most of his adult life. Jones served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1993 to 2001, during which time he wanted to ban music with explicit lyrics from purchase by minors, and again from 2017 to 2021.
He switched political parties in 2020 just days before a residency ruling was set to determine whether or not he was eligible to continue serving in the state house district he was representing. When Jones endorsed then-president Trump for re-election, the national headlines of a black Democrat lawmaker backing Trump overshadowed his alleged misdeeds at the state level.
Jones was also the Chief Executive Officer, an elected office, in DeKalb County from 2001 to 2009, a period in the county’s history where a handful of Jones’ closest colleagues were under investigation by _. Jones himself was sanctioned by the state ethic’s commission for his campaign contribution receipts in excess of state law.
Not-So-Conservative Track Record
The fact that Jones ever had a chance in the realm of conservative politics was surprising based on the lengthy list of initiatives to a contrary belief system.
During his tenure as CEO in DeKalb, Jones championed offering health benefits for unmarried domestic partners and vetoed pay raises for police officers while walking back on a number of campaign promises. In 2003, he was investigated by a grand jury for his $800,000 per year security detail.
In 2010, a jury awarded damages to plaintiffs who accused Jones of discrimination because, during his tenure, the number of senior county managers who were white dropped from 61 to 57 while the number of black senior county managers rose from 33 to 61. Similarly, the jury found DeKalb County liable for intentional discrimination. The finding was that Jones and two others “created and maintained a hostile work environment.” The lawsuit cost the county $1.3 million in legal fees and damages just to the plaintiffs.
During his second bout of public service in the Georgia General Assembly, Jones made headlines for skipping more than 100 votes while being marked ‘present’ on the House floor, meaning he simply did not cast a vote.
These inconsistencies and alleged improprieties, however, did not stop Jones from garnering support on a statewide and Congressional district level. He initially launched a race against Governor Brian Kemp in April 2021, but switched races in February 2022. The 10th Congressional district was a crowded one, however, Mike Collins had significant name recognition after running in 2014 and losing in a runoff to now-Congressman Jody Hice. Collins is also son to the former Congressman Mac Collins who represented the district in the early 2000s.