Donald Trump filled out his Cabinet just before he was sworn-in as president, but he still hasn’t appointed hundreds of other powerful positions in his administration. And many of his earliest supporters and most prominent allies in Georgia are in the running.
Here’s a rundown of which Georgians have already earned jobs in the Trump White House – and which ones are likely to work for his administration. Let us know if we’re missing anyone from the list.
Already in the Trump White House:
Georgia Rep. Tom Price. The Roswell Republican was selected in November as Trump’s health secretary, and a U.S. Senate vote on his nomination is expected soon after two confirmation hearings. The race to succeed him is already well underway.
Former Gov. Sonny Perdue. A day before his inauguration, Trump formally announced that Perdue was his pick for agriculture secretary. The 70-year-old Republican is a blank slate to many in the U.S. Senate, and the battle over his confirmation could fall along regional lines as well as partisan ones.
Stefan Passantino. The veteran Republican attorney and head of Dentons law practice will lead the ethics office in Trump’s White House. He’ll be charged with trying to minimize Trump’s potential conflicts of interest – no easy task for a businessman whose companies have global ties.
Ashley Bell. The former Hall County commissioner attracted national attention after he flipped from the Democratic Party to the GOP. An enthusiastic Trump supporter – he was one of the more outspoken Georgia delegates – Bell landed a gig as a special assistant to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
In the running for Trump roles:
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. One of Gingrich’s most vocal surrogates during the GOP primary, Gingrich was a contender for Trump’s vice president and, later, his Secretary of State before pulling himself out of the running. He has no formal role with the Trump White House, although he has pressed the president to make him a “senior planner” who will target wasteful spending.
Former Rep. Jack Kingston. The Savannah Republican gave Trump some establishment cred during the campaign, appearing countless times on cable TV defending the GOP nominee. Now a globe-trotting lobbyist – he was spotted in Russia in December – he has visited Trump Tower twice to talk with the president over a potential role.
Bruce Levell: As the leader of Trump’s National Diversity Coalition, the Dunwoody jeweler traveled the nation stumping for the president and was a go-to surrogate for him on the airwaves. Although he was briefly mentioned as a contender to lead the Small Business Administration, Levell seems more likely to run for Congress as a Trump acolyte.
Nick Ayers. He made his mark early as Sonny Perdue’s campaign manager for his 2006 re-election bid as a twenty-something. Now he’s a top aide to Vice President Mike Pence – and was a contender to lead the Republican National Committee – who helped shepherd his old boss to a Cabinet nomination. Ayers was offered a West Wing job after the election, but we are told he declined it to stay in Georgia. Expect him to remain as Pence’s most senior outside adviser.
Brian Jack. The sixth-generation Georgian – a graduate of Woodward Academy – was Trump’s national delegate director in charge of wrangling his supporters ahead of the GOP convention. He then was assigned to help oversee Trump’s general election efforts in Georgia, Florida and other hot-spots. Look for him to get a primo gig.
Billy Kirkland. A long-time Perdue aide – he managed Sen. David Perdue’s 2014 campaign – Kirkland joined the Trump campaign in Georgia in August and became its leader in September. He’s been back-and-forth from Washington since, and he’s expected to land a role if he wants to move.
Jennifer Hazelton: If Kirkland was the head of Trump’s Georgia operation, Hazelton was its face. A former TV producer, the Dunwoody resident became the chief media-minder for the campaign in August and appeared in droves of interviews for the Republican in campaign’s final stretch.
Brandon Phillips. Trump’s former Georgia campaign manager – he ran the operation for about a year – the South Georgia native has been in talks with the White House over a handful of positions.