New Analysis Highlights Challenges Facing Loeffler as GOP’s “Cracks” Remain

January 13, 2020

With conservative challengers still threatening a “months-long civil war,” new analysis lays out risks for Loeffler as she struggles to establish herself with Georgia voters

ATLANTA — New analysis this weekend of the Georgia Senate special election laid out the myriad challenges facing “political mega-donor” Kelly Loeffler following her rocky first week, as conservative opponents continue to circle — risking a “months-long civil war” after Loeffler fails to heal “cracks” left in the GOP by her own appointment.

The “GOP firestorm” that erupted after Loeffler used a promise of funneling $20 million into the campaign to buy herself a temporary appointment continues unfolding after new polling showed just how vulnerable Loeffler is. In addition to being underwater with critical independent voters in Georgia, Loeffler loses head-to-head matchups against Collins with Republican voters, putting her in a dangerously weak position. One former GOP member of Congress even admitted that Collins “would crush [Loeffler] in a primary today.”

Now, still “under scrutiny” for her “‘minefield’ of potential ethical issues” that include numerous ethical conflicts related to her business interests — which have already spent $17 million on Washington lobbying since 2002 — Loeffler is damaged heading into 2020, where she’s likely to remain “a target” from all sides.

Marietta Daily Journal: EDITORIAL: Will Doug Collins run against Kelly Loeffler?

  • Georgia’s newly appointed U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler began her term in office with a big question hanging over her future: Will popular Congressman Doug Collins challenge her in November’s special election for the final two years of former Sen. Johnny Isakson’s term ending in 2023?
  • President Trump pressured the governor to appoint Collins, the ranking minority member of the House Judiciary Committee and leader of the Republican fight against impeachment of Trump.
  • Kemp’s choice of Loeffler also did not sit well with rank and file Georgia Republicans as confirmed in a Public Policy Polling survey of likely GOP primary voters after the governor announced his decision. 
  • In a head-to-head match-up, Collins was the choice of 56% of Republicans with Loeffler favored by only 16%, while 27% were unsure about a choice.
  • Confirming the challenge confronting Loeffler was a statewide poll of registered Georgia voters including Democrats, Republicans and independents by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy.
  • Released last week as Loeffler began her Senate service, the poll showed 35% approved of Loeffler’s appointment, 29% disapproved and 36% was unsure.
  • In his favor, Collins has what Loeffler lacks — political experience and strong credentials as a staunch conservative plus other assets.
  • Sen. Loeffler has an uphill battle without Congressman Collins in the race.

National Journal: AGAINST THE GRAIN: The Most Important Senate Race in the Country

  • In a fast-growing, diversifying state that’s becoming more politically competitive, nothing is assured. Republicans are trying to hold onto their slipping support in the affluent suburbs while continuing to rally rural voters to the polls with Trumpian rhetoric and social conservatism.
  • The first cracks in the GOP’s united front came when Gov. Brian Kemp appointed a political novice, businesswoman Kelly Loeffler, to fill the vacancy created by Isakson.
  • If Collins gets in, it would create a months-long civil war at the worst possible time.
  • Public polling has shown that Loeffler would start out well behind Collins if he decides to run.
  • In a polarized political environment in which securing your own base is a necessary prerequisite for success, Loeffler has a lot to prove.
  • Kemp rightly wants to build a broader Republican coalition, but if it costs him even a little support from the base, it’s a heavy price to pay.
  • And Loeffler, despite her compelling biography, has been forced to showcase her loyalty to Trump in her debut as a senator, limiting her ability to reach out to Trump-skeptical independents in the suburbs.
  • “Collins would crush her in a primary today. He may be a white male from north Georgia, but I think he wins a statewide race,” said former GOP Rep. Tom Davis.
  • [Davis]: “He’s seasoned. She is completely untested.”

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