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Duncan edges Shafer for GOP nomination for lieutenant governor
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Former Rep. Geoff Duncan greets supporters at an election night party Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at Black Diamond Grill. - photo by Brian Paglia

After a close race, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor will be one of Forsyth County’s own.

Former lawmaker Geoff Duncan came away with the nomination on Tuesday night after defeating state Sen. David Shafer 50.15 percent to 49.85 percent. He will face Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico in November.

“This is just a humbling experience to know how much ground we covered, how many people helped us get here,” Duncan said on Tuesday evening.

Duncan represented District 26, which is comprised of east and north Forsyth, in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2013 to 2017, when he stepped down to run for the lieutenant governor seat.

He carried his home county by a margin of 68.28 percent, or 11,233 votes, to Shafer’s 38.72 percent.

“Forsyth County showed up for us in such a big way tonight,” Duncan said. “I think it’s just another example of Forsyth County having the opportunity to continue to lead this state with our conservative values and to put them forward and show how important education and economic growth can be to a community, just like Forsyth County. We can replicate that all over this state.”

Considered by many to be the underdog in the race, Duncan said he was used to being the underdog in sports, business and politics.

“I don’t like to be the underdog,” he said, “but I seem to be really good at it.”

Under state law, a candidate can request a recount if the results are closer than one percent of total votes.

“I’ve got the least political experience of anyone in this race,” Duncan said. “I have no idea how the recount works, but I’m confident that the votes are the votes and if everything holds the way it is, I look forward to working hard the next three months and winning the general election in November.”

Duncan said he was going to take “a couple days off with my family, then really go at it and really take on a general election that’s going to be a challenge.”

In the May primary, no candidate received the necessary 50 percent of votes plus one vote to win outright. Shafer earned 48.9 percent of the vote in that race to Duncan’s 26.6 percent. Fellow Republican Rick Jeffares earned 24.45 percent of the vote.

In his term, Duncan supported legislation enacting more harsh penalties for cargo theft, a bill increasing the amount of money Georgia residents who donate to rural hospitals can get back in tax credits and Michael’s Law, which sets age limits for bars and their employees and was named for South Forsyth High School graduate Michael Gatto, who was beaten to death at a bar during his freshman year at Georgia Southern University.

He has said he opposes “federal and state overreach in the classroom,” reducing big government and favors having churches, charities, corporations and citizens as the front line of defense against challenges in our state, not another government program.

Duncan is a graduate of Chattahoochee High School and attended Georgia Tech, where he was a scholarship pitcher and member of the school’s 1994 College World Series. After his junior season, he was drafted into the then-Florida Marlins organization, where he played for six years and reached the AAA level.