The race for Georgia’s open lieutenant governor’s race took an unexpected turn into Wild West territory on Friday when one of Duluth-based state Sen. David Shafer’s Republican opponents challenged him to a shootout.
Yes, a shootout.
Henry County-based former state Sen. Rick Jeffares said he wanted to face Shafer in an impromptu sporting clays shoot. The stipulation in the proposal was that the loser of the shoot out — which was proposed for “high noon” at the Cherokee Rose Gun Club in Griffin on Friday — would have to suspend his campaign.
The men were already scheduled to appear at a Georgia Utility Contractors Association event taking place at the gun club at that time.
“Let’s save the people of Georgia the hassle of wading through political TV ads and mail pieces and settle this contest today,” Jeffares said in a statement. “I’ll bring an extra 12 gauge in case he doesn’t have one.”
Shafer did not appear to take Jeffares’ challenge seriously, telling the Daily Post, “Do you think he is serious?” in an email when asked for a response. He did not comment further on Jeffares’ announcement.
The challenge was an unusual move in a three-man race for the Republican nomination in which Shafer has established a strong fundraising lead. Cumming-based former state Rep. Geoff Duncan is also running for the seat, although Jeffares did not mention him in his challenge to Shafer
The shootout challenge came days after the National Rifle Association endorsed Shafer in the race, which Jeffares took a veiled shot at while asserting his own credentials as a gun owner.
“David reads his gun talking points well, I want to see if he knows which end of a shotgun the shells go in,” Jeffares said. “I’m a lifelong sportsman, gun owner and Second Amendment advocate who has had a hunting license since 1980. I like my chances.”
Based on a post from Jeffares’ Twitter account after noon, it does not appear the shootout took place.