Wayne Johnson defeats man convicted in Jan. 6 riot in Georgia House primary runoff

Republican Wayne Johnson, a former Trump administration official, has won the GOP primary runoff for a House seat in Georgia, according to Decision Desk HQ, defeating a candidate convicted of a misdemeanor related to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Johnson beat out Chuck Hand for the GOP nod in the race for Democratic Rep. Sanford Bishop’s seat in the Peach State’s 2nd Congressional District.

Johnson had won a plurality of votes in last month’s primary, but his 45 percent support fell short of the majority needed to avoid a runoff. He had the edge heading into Tuesday’s contest, but Hand’s support was nevertheless looked at as a signal that some in the GOP are ready to welcome a Jan. 6 convict into Congress more than three years after the riots.

Hand pleaded guilty in 2022 to illegally demonstrating inside the Capitol and was sentenced to 20 days incarceration, according to documents with the Justice Department.

Wayne served during the Trump administration as the chief strategy and transformation officer and chief operating office for the Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid. Chris West, the Republican nominee for Georgia’s 2nd Congressional District in 2022, endorsed Johnson a week ahead of the runoff, lauding Johnson as the best candidate “to help Donald Trump get back in the White House.”

The race came as former President Trump praises “J6 warriors” along the campaign trail. Political observers say Trump, who has dismissed his own legal battles as politically motivated, is opening the door for voters to shrug off Jan. 6 convictions.

But Johnson emerged victorious from Tuesday’s runoff and is now set to face off in November against 16-term incumbent Bishop in the longtime blue district.

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