Neil W. McCabe, the national political editor of The Star News Network, interviewed Trump-endorsed Georgia GOP hopeful Vernon Jones about his reaction to the revelation that his primary opponent in Georgia’s 10th Congressional District, Mike Collins, lent his campaign $465,000 after he received a now-forgiven Payroll Protection Program loan for $920,000.
Jones dropped out of his gubernatorial primary challenge to Gov. Brian P. Kemp at the request of President Donald J. Trump, so as to clear the field for former senator David A. Perdue Jr.
The former Democratic state representative said he isn’t opposed to candidates supporting their own campaign, but he is troubled by Collins apparently supporting his campaign after receiving government largess.
Jones said he would never use public money to support his political campaigns. The primary is May 24, 2022.
Neil McCabe: Former State Representative Vernon Jones is the Trump-endorsed candidate in the Georgia 10 House Republican primary. Jones told The Star News Network why he is uncomfortable with his opponent Mike Collins loaning the Collins campaign $465,000 after Collins received nearly $1 million in PPP loans.
Vernon Jones: It appears as though Mike Collins has used the PPP loans to further his political career and that’s troubling.
McCabe: Jones and Collins are fighting for the House seat vacated by Congressman Jodi Hice so that he could challenge Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
Jones, a former Democrat, was running against Governor Brian Kemp in the Republican primary until President Donald J. Trump asked him to step aside to clear the field for former Senator David Perdue.
Now Jones is facing Collins, who owns a trucking business, in the May 24 primary. According to federal records reviewed by The Star News Network, Collins borrowed $920,000 from the government’s payroll protection plan, and the records also show that the loan was forgiven.
Other federal records reviewed by The Star News Network show that Collins lent his own campaign $465,000. Jones said he would never use public money to support his political campaigns.
Jones: I have not and nor will I use public funds that are to save small businesses and struggling. To be clear, to save struggling small businesses to save jobs, and to protect people’s livelihoods, I would never use that for a political campaign.
McCabe: Jones said there’s nothing wrong with a candidate supporting his own campaign, but he has a problem with the optics of Collins taking nearly $1 million for his business when he has the wealth to loan his own campaign, roughly half that.
Jones: There’s nothing wrong with loaning your campaign money if you want to make a personal loan. But what is troubling is to see where the abuses have taken place with PPP loans and again to use a PPP loan to fund your political campaign. It’s concerning.
McCabe: Reporting for The Star News Network, Neil W. McCabe, Washington.
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