Loeffler’s Lousy Week: Senate Pick “Sparks Rift” and Fails to Stop GOP Infighting While Alienating Independent Voters

December 20, 2019

“Skeptical” party leaders refuse to rally around Loeffler as she signs on to unpopular and divisive agenda

Atlanta — “Political mega-donor” Kelly Loeffler is wrapping up another lousy week, with her own party continuing to descend into infighting as she sparks a “rift” in Georgia government and manages to alienate independent voters — all in the space of just a few days.

It’s been nearly a month since news broke that Governor Brian Kemp would reward mega-donor Loeffler with a Senate seat — after she promised to funnel $20 million of her fortune into the race — and Loeffler is still struggling to end the “GOP firestorm” that followed her announcement. All she’s seemingly managed to do is raise more doubts about her profile among “skeptical” party leaders while signing on to an unpopular and divisive agenda that alienates independent voters.

Heading into 2020, Loeffler is still facing potential conservative challengers and she’s compensating by moving farther and farther to the right in a desperate bid to heal the intra-party wounds her “fiasco” appointment created.

See the headlines Loeffler’s facing after another lousy week:

AJC: Loeffler reaches out to skeptical Georgia GOP activists

  • As Kelly Loeffler prepares to be sworn in as Georgia’s next U.S. senator, many of the grassroots activists who form the backbone of the state’s Republican Party remain reluctant to give her a full-fledged endorsement.
  • Tea party organizers have openly vouched for Collins, as have Fox News personalities such as Lou Dobbs and Sean Hannity. That’s trickled down to some of the volunteers who man phone banks, crowd monthly breakfasts and hand out pamphlets door to door.
  • [Reid Derr, Chair of Bulloch County Republican Party] said the “base is skeptical of a political newcomer and wants a strong conservative.”
  • Though [Loeffler] was surrounded by politicians during her formal introduction at Kemp’s office earlier this month, several of those officials abstained from endorsing her.

AJC: Kemp’s Senate pick sparks rift in lieutenant governor’s office

  • Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan’s decision to stand beside Gov. Brian Kemp as he unveiled Kelly Loeffler as his pick for a U.S. Senate seat triggered the abrupt resignation of his top aide, according to senior GOP officials.
  • The fallout offers a window into the tension over Kemp’s appointment of Loeffler, a finance executive unknown to many Georgia Republican leaders.
  • Some activists pushed Kemp to tap U.S. Rep. Doug Collins to the seat instead, and many remain uncommitted as he weighs a potential challenge against her in November’s special election.
  • Several Republican senators who requested anonymity expressed concerns that Lake’s retirement could hobble the lieutenant governor’s office at a pivotal time.

AJC: Loeffler distances herself from her WNBA team’s ‘religious liberty’ opposition

  • Republican Kelly Loeffler is at once a “pro-wall and pro-Trump” U.S. senator in waiting and the co-owner of an Atlanta WNBA franchise that condemned a top priority of some conservative leaders. 
  • The opponents, including powerful business boosters and gay rights groups, say religious liberty bills amount to legalized discrimination, and they point to executives from dozens of companies who threatened boycotts if Georgia adopted the law.
  • Some recent polls show the broader electorate is not nearly as supportive of the idea. A 2017 AJC poll found that a plurality of voters opposed an effort to revive the legislation.

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