Georgia 2018: Burt Jones won’t run for higher office

Sen. Burt Jones confers with colleagues on the floor. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

State Sen. Burt Jones is not running for lieutenant governor or any other higher office, and he’s endorsing his Republican colleague David Shafer’s bid for the state’s No. 2 job.

Jones said in a statement that he’s fine – for now – serving in the Senate because he’s “able to remain active in my growing business and daily family life and activities.”

The former Georgia football captain and heir to Jones Petroleum Co. would have been a formidable GOP candidate, able to leverage plenty of personal wealth in a run for higher office.

Jones said in an interview that he’s staying out of the governor’s race for the time being but would support Shafer, who he said has done a “terrific” job reaching out to grassroots Republicans.

His decision means that Shafer has dodged another bullet in his bid for Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s job. Although there were weeks of rumbling from other Senate Republicans that they might challenge Shafer, none have yet emerged.

That means his main GOP opponent remains state Rep. Geoff Duncan, the former pro baseball player who announced in April. Cagle, of course, is running for governor.