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Top Georgia Republican says he won't run for Senate

Georgia's Republican lieutenant governor announced on Sunday that he will not challenge Sen. Raphael WarnockRaphael WarnockDemocrats cool on Crist's latest bid for Florida governor Alabama museum unveils restored Greyhound bus for Freedom Rides' 60th anniversary The Hill's Morning Report - Biden launches blitz for jobs plan with 'thank you, Georgia' MORE (D-Ga.) for one of the state's Senate seats next year.

Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan told NBC's "Meet the Press" that he would not seek to recapture the seat for Republicans while distancing himself from the "Trump wing" of the GOP.

"My family and I have talked about it, and we’re not going to run for the U.S. Senate seat. We’re going to stay focused on being the lieutenant governor here in Georgia, and we are going to focus hard on trying to rebuild this party and refocus GOP 2.0," he told host Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddSanders knocks James Carville: 'I don't think he's terribly relevant to what happens in Congress right now' Portman: Pre-K, community college not 'typically' a government responsibility Yellen: 'Safest' thing to do is make sure infrastructure plan is paid for MORE.

"Donald TrumpDonald TrumpThe Memo: The Obamas unbound, on race Iran says onus is on US to rejoin nuclear deal on third anniversary of withdrawal Assaults on Roe v Wade increasing MORE's divisive tone and strategy is unwinnable in forward-looking elections. We need real leadership," he added.

Duncan said that a number of Republican-supported bills in the Georgia legislature that would end no-excuse absentee ballot voting and limit early voting were "solutions in search of a problem." Republicans have made repeated unproven claims about mail-in voting being rife with fraud.

"Republicans don’t need election reform to win. We need leadership," Duncan said, adding, "I'm one of the Republicans that want more people to vote. I think our ideas help people."

His comments come just days after the lieutenant governor made headlines for refusing to preside over the Georgia Senate while GOP-led elections legislation was being debated, a move meant to signal his opposition to the bills.

Warnock's seat is expected to be heavily contested next year, as it is one of several that could decide control of the upper chamber, which is currently split 50-50, though Democrats have a tiebreaking vote in Vice President Harris.

The senator took office in January after winning a special election to finish the term of Sen. Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonLoeffler group targets Democrats with billboards around baseball stadium Warnock raises nearly M since January victory Five big takeaways on Georgia's new election law MORE (R-Ga.), who retired.