Gingrich announced his support for Republican candidate Vernon Jones in a video released earlier Tuesday by the Jones campaign — even though Gingrich had endorsed Collins, whom he had long known, months ago.
“I am delighted to announce my support for Vernon Jones for Congress,” said Gingrich in the video, calling Jones “the kind of legislative, experienced person who can get things done.”
“We need leaders like Vernon Jones,” Gingrich added.
The former Georgia congressman did not mention Collins in his direct-to-camera address endorsing Jones, who is also backed by former President Donald Trump.
Hours after the video was released, Gingrich’s team said that he still supported Collins, blaming “junior staff” for “prematurely” announcing the Jones endorsement.
“The video produced for the Jones team was released prematurely by junior staff without final approval,” said Gingrich aide Louie Brogdon. “It had not been thoroughly vetted to ensure there were no conflicts with Speaker Gingrich’s prior commitments.”
“Speaker Gingrich continues to support Mike Collins for Georgia’s 10th Congressional District,” added Brogdon. “He has known Mike and his family for decades, and he believes Mike is the best candidate for the job.”
Gingrich tweeted Tuesday evening after the Jones video was released that he supports Collins.
“Mike Collins will be an excellent servant of the people of GA-10. He is a lifelong conservative, a hard worker, and a dear family friend. Support @MikeCollinsGA for #GA10,” he wrote.
Jones and Collins are running for an open House seat against a large field of Republican candidates, including former US Rep. Paul Broun, state Rep. Timothy Barr and former state revenue commissioner David Curry.
Gingrich has a history of supporting Collins, the son of the late Georgia Republican Rep. Mac Collins. In July 2021, Gingrich called Collins “a conservative outsider who will always put America First, no matter what the D.C. special interests and insiders want.” Gingrich also backed Collins’ failed 2014 bid for Congress, saying he had known Collins “since he was a child,” campaigned with his dad and “watched Mike grow up.” Jody Hice won that 2014 race and is now running for Georgia secretary of state, leaving the seat open.
Stephen Lawson, a spokesman for Collins, said Gingrich had “endorsed Mike Collins from day one because he knows he’s the only true Pro-Trump America First conservative in this race.”
Jones responded in a statement provided by his campaign.
“The video is clear. Speaker Newt Gingrich endorsed our campaign for Georgia’s 10th Congressional District, and Mike Collins went whining,” said Jones.
Two months ago, Trump endorsed Jones, rewarding the former Democrat for jumping out of the 2022 GOP gubernatorial primary race and helping Trump’s pick, former Sen. David Perdue, consolidate some support. Trump has struggled to get many of his top allies to back Perdue, but Jones announced his support soon after dropping out of the gubernatorial race. Perdue is trailing in the race against Georgia GOP Gov. Brian Kemp, according to a Fox poll last month.
In March, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Jones cast a ballot in Georgia’s 2020 Democratic presidential primary rather than for Trump. CJ Pearson, Jones’ spokesman, said that Jones voted for Trump in the general election and would do so again.
“In 2020, there was effectively no Republican primary in the state of Georgia as President Trump ran unopposed,” Pearson said. “Rep. Jones proudly cast his ballot for President Trump in November of 2020 and looks forward to doing the same in 2024.”
“We are proud to be not just the only Trump endorsed campaign in this race, but the only Trump trusted campaign as well,” Pearson added.
This story and headline have been updated to reflect a Newt Gingrich aide’s statement asserting that a video of the former House speaker endorsing Vernon Jones was mistakenly released.