NEW: Leaked Call Shows GOP “Increasingly Alarmed” About Georgia Senate Races

November 17, 2020

Private remarks show Republicans face “rising angst” against “energized and emboldened” Democrats in both runoffs

ATLANTA — New reporting on a leaked call featuring both Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler alongside top Republican officials revealed that the GOP is “increasingly alarmed about the party’s ability to stave off Democratic challengers in Georgia’s two Senate runoff elections” while privately calling President Donald Trump “a political burden” and “likely loser.”

The remarks come despite Loeffler’s desperate attempts to ally herself with Trump “100%” — including on issues like Trump’s call to “terminate” the health care law through a GOP-backed lawsuit before the Supreme Court. And Perdue’s comments come after weeks of dodging local press on his increasingly competitive race and refusing to debate his opponent Democratic nominee Jon Ossoff after Ossoff hammered Perdue for his failed leadership during this pandemic in their last debate.

Now, with Democrats “energized and emboldened” ahead of the runoffs, this latest leaked call shows Republicans are facing the heat from all sides as Georgia remains more “in play” than ever.

Read more about Republicans’ grim assessments of their chances in Georgia:

Washington Post: Republicans sound alarm on Georgia Senate runoffs as they privately weigh Trump’s influence

  • Republican leaders are increasingly alarmed about the party’s ability to stave off Democratic challengers in Georgia’s two Senate runoff elections — and they privately described President Trump on a recent conference call as a political burden who despite his false claims of victory was the likely loser of the 2020 election.
  • Those blunt assessments, which capture a Republican Party in turmoil as Trump refuses to concede to President-elect Joe Biden, were made on a Nov. 10 call with donors hosted by the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
  • It featured Georgia’s embattled GOP incumbents, Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, and Karl Rove, a veteran strategist who is coordinating fundraising for the Jan. 5 runoffs.
  • Most striking was the way the senators nodded toward the likelihood of Biden’s presidency. While Trump keeps insisting that he won the election, making baseless claims of voter fraud and mounting legal challenges, Republicans on the call privately cast those efforts as an understandable but potentially futile protest.
  • [Perdue] said, “we’re assuming that we’re going to be standing out here alone.”
  • Those remarks came as Perdue and Loeffler have remained publicly defiant about the 2020 election result in their state.
  • The private GOP phone call highlighted the party’s rising angst over the highly unusual dual runoff campaign, which is unfolding under the cloud of the Georgia presidential recount and Trump’s refusal to concede, while at the same time Democrats appear energized and emboldened by Biden’s win in the state.
  • Some on the call expressed particular concern about Georgia’s fast-changing electorate, driven by the increasingly liberal metro Atlanta region and the push by 2018 gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams to register more Democratic voters, especially in the state’s communities of color.

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