McClatchy: Loeffler’s “Reset” Attempt Fails as Republicans Panic Over Her “Endangering Our Senate Majority”

May 16, 2020

GOP officials speculate about Loeffler leaving the race as they worry her growing problems could “spread like…poison ivy” and wreck Republican chances down the ballot

ATLANTA — Unelected “political mega-donor” Senator Kelly Loeffler’s continuing “lesson in how not to manage a crisis” just took another major hit as a new McClatchy report breaks down how her attempts at a “reset” have fallen apart — and led to further Republican worries about having Loeffler on the ticket in November.

With the FBI’s warrant for Senator Richard Burr now putting “new pressure” on Loeffler — who still refuses to say if the FBI has been in contact with her or asked her to turn over documents — Republican officials are now openly speculating if Loeffler should leave the race entirely. She’s become so toxic that one former GOP congressman even compared her to “poison ivy,” worrying her scandals could “spread” and “start getting on other people.” Another GOP strategist noted that down-ticket candidates are “nervous as hell” about Loeffler remaining on the ballot.

With Loeffler facing “limited options” as she plans to go nuclear against intraparty rival Rep. Doug Collins and political experts already downgrading the GOP’s chances in the race, it’s once again becoming clear that the only winner emerging from Republicans’ disastrous intraparty Senate brawl are Georgia Democrats.

Read more about Loeffler’s failed campaign reset and the GOP’s declining chances:

McClatchy: Loeffler’s campaign hoped for a reset. But senator’s stocks came under new scrutiny

  • Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s campaign was seeking a reset after a rocky first few months in the Republican’s tenure as a Georgia senator. Instead, an FBI investigation of a fellow senator suddenly placed Loeffler’s own stock sales front and center again.
  • Even before that development, several high-placed Republicans had told McClatchy that they were concerned that Loeffler’s stock sales had become too much of a distraction and she should consider dropping out of the special election for the Senate seat she currently holds.
  • “Her getting out of the race is something that I think that some people just need to sit down and talk about,” [ former Georgia Rep. Lynn Westmoreland] said in a phone interview.
  • The special election she is competing in will take place in November when fellow Sen. David Perdue, a slate of Republican representatives, and President Donald Trump will be on the ballot. Westmoreland said he was concerned that Loeffler would be a drag on the rest of the GOP ticket in Georgia.
  • “This doesn’t need to spread like something in poison ivy and start getting on other people,” Westmoreland said in a recent interview. “Is this going to interfere with our congressional races, where we’re trying to win a couple of seats back, or is this going to interfere with the presidential election of President Trump? Is it going to interfere with Sen. David Perdue’s election?”
  • A person close to Trump who had previously expressed anxiety about Loeffler “endangering our Senate majority,” told McClatchy on Thursday that the new attention to her stock sales were even more worrisome.
  • A Georgia Republican strategist familiar with the race told McClatchy that down-ballot candidates in the state are “nervous as hell” that Loeffler’s stock sales will be an election issue that will spill over into their races.
  • The stock sales have made the special election that Loeffler must win more competitive than initially expected. The coronavirus pandemic further limited the Republican’s ability to introduce herself to her new constituents and future voters in public gatherings, leaving her campaign with limited options.
  • The Republican rivalry in the race has become extremely bitter. Loeffler’s next phase of ads will likely include pointed attacks on Collins, her campaign said, landing in the coming weeks and months in mailers, on digital platforms and in television advertisements.
  • Trey Hood, a pollster and professor of political science at the University of Georgia, said the stock sales have defined Loeffler in a way that will be hard for her to shake off.
  • “Most normal people are not selling millions of dollars in stock,” he said, “or know what a blind trust is. People are connecting some dots here, and they’re not really good dots.”

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