“GOP firestorm” heats up as Loeffler faces “mounting conservative criticism” and new potential challengers
ATLANTA — It was a rough week for Governor* Brian Kemp’s hand-picked “mega-donor” appointee who had to face “mounting conservative criticism” on Day 1 and plans to “funnel $20 million of her own cash into the campaign” in a bid to buy the seat — but that hasn’t stopped conservative Republicans from considering running.
Loeffler is less than a week into her temporary appointment and already conservative challengers are looking to jump into the fray, even at the risk of “a bitter Republican fight on the 2020 ballot.” Congressman Doug Collins has spent the last few weeks further fracturing the Republican Party and threatening a run that even Republicans admit would be “a disaster,” with Collins saying just yesterday that he still isn’t “ruling it out.”
Then Congressman Tom Graves announced yesterday that he will not be running for re-election to the House — potentially to make his own divisive bid for the Senate seat, further inflaming tensions and GOP infighting “at a time when the GOP can ill-afford discord.”
As Georgia Republicans “scramble to mend an intra-party rift,” Loeffler’s already been slammed by her own party’s base as “unacceptable,” “the wrong choice” and “disqualified” while they’ve written off her appointment as shallow “pandering.” Even conservative groups in Georgia are threatening not to support her as Kemp and his allies beg for unity.
But Kemp’s disastrous appointment process itself has also come under fire from Georgia Republicans as “a fiasco” and a “kerfuffle,” as the governor’s own allies like conservative commentator Erick Erickson admit “the fix was in” for mega-donor Loeffler, who secured the seat in part by pledging to pour $20 million of her fortune into the race.
It’s clear that even after the appointment, Georgia Republicans are still facing a no-win scenario, with the party stuck in the middle of a divisive feud at a time when they can least afford it — and with Georgia’s Senate seats remaining more vulnerable than ever.
“It’s hard to imagine how Kelly Loeffler’s disastrous roll-out could have gone any worse for Georgia Republicans, with Loeffler and Kemp now both facing attacks from their party’s base and potential conservative challengers still lining up to run against her,” said Alex Floyd, spokesman for the Democratic Party of Georgia. “Georgia Republicans’ self-inflicted disaster of a Senate appointment shows that no matter how hard Loeffler tries to buy her seat, she and her party are still in deep trouble for 2020 facing a fractured party and voters tired of political insiders trying to buy their own influence and power.”
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