Chris West addresses the Bibb County GOP earlier in June 2022.

Chris West addresses the Bibb County GOP earlier in June 2022.

Credit: Grant Blankenship/GPB News

Thomasville attorney Chris West won the Republican nomination in Georgia’s 2nd Congressional District, defeating former U.S. Army captain and Yale Law student Jeremy Hunt in Tuesday’s runoff election.

With an estimated 98% of the vote in, West leads Hunt 14,608-13,853. Hunt conceded just before 10:20 p.m. but did not mention West by name in his speech.

“We’re all in. We’re going to support the Republican nominee,” Hunt told supporters at his election night event in Columbus. “We’re going to move forward.”

West, 38, won despite finishing second in the May primary and being outspent roughly 9-1 by Hunt. He thanked supporters in a tweet at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.

“I am incredibly humbled and grateful to the voters of GA-02 for propelling us toward this huge win tonight,” West wrote. “Tonight showed that we can—and will—defeat Sanford Bishop in November. It’s time to rotate the crop in Southwest Georgia. Thank y’all and God bless!”

Hunt, 28, finished first in May’s primary with 37% of the total ballots cast and was the favored candidate of several national Republican politicians, carrying endorsements from U.S. Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Josh Hawley of Missouri, former U.N ambassador and S.C. governor Nikki Haley as well as GOP operative Karl Rove.

Hunt’s campaign raised the most money in the election, boosted by outside PAC spending that ramped up in the weeks leading up to the runoff. Two PACs, American Patriots PAC and American Values First, spent roughly $1.4 million on Hunt’s campaign since early May with more than $623,000 coming since June 8, according to raw reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission.

As of June 1, Hunt’s campaign raised just over $721,000, and West raised more than $232,000. The spending gap is expected to grow as new reports are filed.

West, who has been involved in the Georgia Republican party since 2004, is also an officer in the Georgia Air National Guard. He managed to secure the endorsement of three of his GOP opponents in May — Vivian Childs, Paul Whitehead and Wayne Johnson.

Days before the runoff, Johnson filed a civil racketeering lawsuit against Hunt, Fox News and Fox host Brian Kilmeade.

West goes on to face Democrat Sanford Bishop, an incumbent who has represented the region for nearly three decades. The race will be Georgia’s most closely contested Congressional election in November.

This story comes to GPB through a reporting partnership with the Ledger-Enquirer.