District 12 GOP congressional candidate John Stone called Monday for a special district caucus to choose a leading Republican candidate to challenge Democrat incumbent John Barrow.
Stone wants an uncontested primary to avoid a costly runoff election that he said would hinder the GOP’s chances of defeating Barrow.
The crowded Republican ticket includes Augusta businessman Rick Allen; Glennville, Ga., state Rep. Delvis Dutton; and Eugene Yu, who switched his campaign Saturday from the U.S. Senate race to the 12th District.
“More candidates almost guarantees you have a runoff scenario,” Stone said Monday during a news conference. “What we need to do in this election is win the seat, not serve our own egos in doing so.”
Stone, who had not consulted his fellow candidates on the idea, wants the caucus to meet this weekend to determine one candidate before qualifying begins next week. Republican Party county chairmen, district delegates and alternates would participate in the caucus.
“That way, starting next week, we are running full time and we are exerting all of our efforts and all of our finances toward the fall rather than fighting each other,” Stone said.
Campaigns for Yu and Allen said they had no interest in participating in a caucus.
“I don’t know what his motivations are, but in Georgia, we let voters decide elections, and Rick is comfortable letting the voters make their own decision,” said Allen’s campaign manager, Lauren Swing.
Stone said the candidates would have to agree in good faith not to oppose the winner of the caucus, which cannot be legally binding.