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The former lieutenant governor of Georgia is backing Biden in his high-profile defection from the Republican Party

Not long ago, Geoff Duncan was seen as a rising star in Republican politics. Now Georgia’s former lieutenant governor says he’s voting for president Joe Biden this year, and he’s urging other Republicans to do the same.

“Unlike Trump, I have belonged to the Republican Party my entire life. This November, I will vote for a decent person with whom I disagree on policy regarding a criminal defendant with no moral compass,” Duncan wrote in an op-ed published Monday in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Former President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia was a breaking point for Duncan, who, along with other GOP officials such as Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, have challenged the integrity of the state’s elections. defended and condemned Trump’s elections. actions and rhetoric as false and undemocratic.

The split with Trump led Duncan to decide not to run for re-election in 2022 and to write a book about reinventing the Republican Party without Trump.

Duncan, who is also a former professional baseball player and state lawmaker, was recruited to join this year’s centrist third-party presidential ticket backed by No Labels, but he ultimately declined.

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The entrenched Washington group announced in March it would abandon its 2024 presidential ambitions after failing to find a credible candidate. Duncan appears to have come closest to securing a candidate for the top of the ticket, although keeping much of his work private.

Duncan has said in interviews that he seriously considered the No Labels ticket, but that he was unsure that a third party candidate would have a real path to victory in November and that he feared he would only be a spoiler .

With Trump back at the top of the Republican Party and on track to be nominated in November, Duncan criticized other former Republican skeptics of Trump for siding with him instead of supporting Biden.

“[T]The Republican Party will never rebuild until we leave the Trump era behind us, leaving conservative (but not angry) Republicans like me no choice but to pull the lever for Biden,” Duncan wrote in his op-ed.

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“The alternative is a new term for Trump, a man who has disqualified himself by his behavior and his character,” he continued. with an adult film star.”

Duncan further wrote that he disagrees with Biden’s policies and that Republicans who support Biden must simultaneously “work to elect majorities in the Republican Congress to block his second-term legislative agenda and provide a check and balance.” to assure.”

In a statement, Biden campaign spokesman James Singer said the campaign is “actively reaching out to Americans like Geoff Duncan, who put their country and the concern for protecting our democracy above blind loyalty to Donald Trump and his self-centered campaign of revenge and retaliation. “

Singer said the campaign welcomes Duncan and all others who share the value they place on democracy, the rule of law and public decency, adding that they “have a place in President Biden’s vision for America.”

Anti-Trump Republicans were a key part of the coalition that helped Biden oust Trump in 2020, as Democrats highlighted support from GOP officials in ads and speaking engagements at the Democratic National Convention.

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But some of those pro-Biden Republicans said Biden’s outreach since then has been lackluster, and warned that his campaign must do more to win over so-called soft Republicans and Republican Party-leaning independents.

Democrats closely watching this year’s Republican Party primaries also saw potential Biden supporters among the voter segment won by former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, a moderate and Trump critic.

Biden’s team has yet to make a major public effort specifically aimed at those voters. Democrats say the time for such a move would come closer to the election. In the meantime, they say they believe Trump and his campaign will continue to denigrate Haley and her supporters, rather than trying to win them back.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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