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Brian Jack Georgia House
Brian Jack received former President Donald Trump’s endorsement for his bid for a House seat. Jason Allen/AP

Donald Trump Wants His Political Adviser in Congress. Is That Enough to Get Him Elected?

Brian Jack is running for Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District. But he may have a problem: “I’ve not heard him articulate why he should be elected other than, you know, he likes Trump, and Trump likes him,” a GOP operative told NOTUS.

The much-debated power of former President Donald Trump’s endorsement will receive its latest test on Tuesday in Georgia’s District 3 Republican primary.

“For a lot of folks, that’s all it takes: ‘If Trump’s for him, I’m for him,’” said GOP strategist Brian Robinson.

Former Trump adviser Brian Jack is seen as the leader in a tight race to replace retiring Rep. Drew Ferguson and is the former president’s pick for the seat. Trump has posted multiple times encouraging voters to back the first-time candidate for the deep-red district and has praised Jack during visits to Georgia. But in a race filled with proven conservatives loyal to Trump, that endorsement may not be the deciding factor.

“I think it’s just a great test case on, ‘Is it enough on its own?’” Robinson said of Trump’s endorsement.

Jack has big-name GOP allies and experience in national politics, serving as Trump’s political director for two years and working for former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Some of his opponents, however, have longer records, closer local ties and better ground games — which could make all the difference in a primary expected to have low voter turnout.

“So who has the best machine getting voters out? That’s going to be the question,” said GOP operative Martha Zoller. “This is old-school, retail, ‘get out your people to vote’ kind of politics.”

Jack is up against four candidates for the GOP nomination, including former state legislators Mike Dugan, Mike Crane and Philip Singleton. Unlike Jack, they have voting records. And unlike Jack, they haven’t spent over a decade up north in “the swamp.” They’ve been in and around the district.

“Maybe that familiarity with them is something [that], for some voters, means more than a Trump endorsement,” Robinson said.

A campaign spokesperson told NOTUS that Jack had held or attended over 45 events in the past month and a half, including a tele-town hall with Trump Monday night.

“The voters of the 3rd District appreciated the policies of the president. They appreciated the results of the president. And they know that Brian Jack was at the tip of the spear and fundamentally a huge, huge, fundamental component of making sure those policies were enacted,” said the spokesperson.

“To say that Brian hasn’t been around or hasn’t run a grassroots campaign is a little disingenuous,” they added. “It’s been exactly the opposite.”

Before Jack officially filed for candidacy, Trump posted a caveated endorsement on Truth Social, saying, “Should he decide to run, Brian Jack has my complete and total endorsement!”

Trump and his endorsement have a mixed history in Georgia. He was the first Republican presidential nominee to lose in the state since George H.W. Bush. Though he handpicked former Sen. David Perdue as a gubernatorial primary challenger to Gov. Brian Kemp in 2022, the plan failed as Kemp romped to victory.

During his run for the seat, candidates hit Jack for skipping a local debate organized by Frontline Policy Action, a debate Jack’s campaign said they learned about too late to attend. But beyond the usual district campaigning, he’s utilized his D.C. connections to have national names campaign with him, including conservative luminaries Newt Gingrich and Rep. Jim Jordan.

“I’ve not heard him articulate why he should be elected other than, you know, he likes Trump, and Trump likes him,” said Cole Muzio, president of Frontline Policy.

Jack raised $925,000, significantly more than the other candidates, and has spent roughly $90,000 more than the other candidates combined, using the funds to pellet the district with advertising.

“His real advantage is in his national fundraising and with being able to tap into major donors that he’s met through Trumpworld and through Kevin McCarthy world,” said Robinson. “Those are some very deep pockets to tap into.”

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Trump posted a video bolstering Jack last week. Endorsements followed from former Housing Secretary Ben Carson to Rep. Mike Collins, the latest in a line of national figures throwing their weight behind the guy who quickly jumped from unknown to front-runner.

Jack is expected to be in the top two candidates should the race go to a runoff, as most operatives predicted it would.

“Normally, in a low turnout race, you would say, ‘OK, who’s the guy that’s knocked on the most doors and has the grassroots support?’” Muzio said. “I don’t think it’s Jack.”

Ben T.N. Mause is a NOTUS reporter and an Allbritton Journalism Institute fellow.