GOP’s “Ugly Face-off” Escalates as Loeffler and Collins Refuse to Back Down in Their “Brutal Republican-on-Republican Fight”

February 21, 2020

The “all-out Republican feud” heats up as Washington Republicans panic that Georgia is “one of their two biggest vulnerabilities”

ATLANTA — This week, top Trump ally Congressman Doug Collins refused to back down in his expensive and bitter intraparty feud with “political mega-donor” and temporary senator Kelly Loeffler, while new stories broke showing just how out-of-touch Loeffler is with Georgia voters.

Loeffler started the week reeling from the embarrassing discovery that despite portraying herself as a hunter in a new ad only days before, she doesn’t actually have a Georgia hunting license. The reveal followed attacks by Collins that Loeffler was a “pretend farmer,” which her out-of-state allies fired back on with millions in new ads slamming Collins on Georgia’s airwaves.

Now, still struggling to define herself with Georgia voters and immersed in a “fierce melee” with Collins that likely “jeopardized the party’s chances” in Georgia, a new AJC report revealed yesterday that Loeffler has a secretive private jet to hop around DC and Georgia — even for an 18-minute flight between Atlanta and Macon. Loeffler even went as far as to charter her jet under a service promising “anonymity” in a bid to hide her luxury purchase from Georgia voters.

Given Loeffler’s continual missteps seemingly coming every week, it’s no surprise that Collins preemptively turned down a potential offer from the White House today to abandon the Senate race, instead slamming Loeffler as “a very rich but very flawed candidate” and claiming with her the GOP “would lose this Senate seat.”

Read the latest on the GOP’s intraparty brawl this week:

AJC: Loeffler jet a Georgia campaign trail asset, but also fuel for critics

  • [Loeffler’s private jet] fuels critics who are pushing to portray the former financial executive as an out-of-touch multimillionaire who whisks to meetings with Georgia farmers and small-town officials on her private jet.
  • The plane is a Bombardier CL30, a midsize business jet that typically lists between $7 million for older models and four times that for newer versions.
  • Records show the plane is chartered under TVPX Aircraft Solutions, which specializes in a form of “owner trust” that some in the business aviation industry have adopted. Among the benefits of the system, the company says on its website, is offering U.S. clients “anonymity.”
  • Indeed, the plane was listed as “not available for public tracking per request from the owner/operator” on Flight Aware, a commonly used flight-tracking system.
  • Flight data shows the plane has made several recent trips between the Fulton County Airport and Washington-area airfields.
  • Loeffler appears to be the only member of Georgia’s congressional delegation to regularly commute to Washington on a private jet.

AJC: GOP senator who posed in hunting gear in ad doesn’t have a hunting license

  • U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler recently posted a picture of herself in a camo blouse and orange safety vest, with a shotgun over one shoulder. One of her critics quickly discovered she couldn’t have been using the weaponry to hunt.
  • The Republican incumbent doesn’t have a Georgia hunting license, according to an Open Records Act request obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • By the end of the day, [Collins’] campaign posted a digital ad that mocked her hunting attire and ribbed her over the nearly $90 fine for hunting without a license.

AJC: Collins won’t accept Trump’s intel post, vows to stay in Georgia Senate race

  • U.S. Rep. Doug Collins rejected the idea Friday of becoming President Donald Trump’s next director of national intelligence, deciding to focus instead on his run against U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler in a campaign that’s growing increasingly bitter.
  • [Collins said:] “I’m running against a senator who was just newly appointed who decided to support the president three weeks before she got the appointment.”
  • Republican leaders have searched for ways to diffuse the scathing race between the two, which has forced top national and Georgia GOP leaders to take sides at a time when the party can ill afford a rift.
  • Since Collins entered the race in January, he has assailed Loeffler as an out-of-touch millionaire, a “fake conservative” and a “pretend farmer.” Her allies have fired back, depicting the congressman as a tax-and-spend phony bent on dividing the party.
  • The feud has raised GOP concerns that Democrats could win the special election for the seat once held by U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, who retired in December because of health issues.
  • Collins raised that prospect Friday, warning that Loeffler “could actually put this seat in jeopardy because of the flaws she has.”
  • “If Loeffler were the GOP’s only choice, we would lose this Senate seat,” he added on social media.
  • Some Republicans worry that the GOP feud could spill over to damage U.S. Sen. David Perdue, who is up for a second term in November, as well as Trump’s chances of holding a state he won by 5 percentage points in 2016.

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