ICYMI: Washington Republicans “Increasingly Worried” About Georgia Races After Loeffler’s Scandals

May 26, 2020

As more Republicans continue calling for her to drop out of the race entirely, even the White House is starting to worry about damage to “down-ballot contenders” from Loeffler’s stock trades

ATLANTA — After spending last week launching intraparty attacks and promoting polls showing her underwater, unelected “political mega-donor” Senator Kelly Loeffler got another round of bad news this weekend as both the New York Times and the AJC reported on the growing Republican angst about Loeffler’s potential to “damage down-ballot contenders.”

GOP officials across the country are increasingly waking up to Loeffler’s ability to tank the entire Republican ticket — including the Trump administration, which is still planning to stay out of the race despite both Loeffler and her opponent Congressman Doug Collins’ desperate attempts to get support from the White House. Yet despite calls to drop out amidst the GOP’s self-described “not great” polling, Loeffler still “shows no signs of backing down” as she prepares to go nuclear against Collins with millions in ads.

Meanwhile, as Republicans continue pouring fuel on their dumpster fire of a Senate contest, Georgia Democrats are in an increasingly strong position across the board in the state as polls and ratings changes continue to confirm Georgia is more “in play” than ever ahead of 2020.

Read more about the GOP’s disaster of a Senate race:

NYT: White House Worries About Kelly Loeffler’s Senate Prospects in Georgia

  • President Trump’s advisers are increasingly concerned about Senator Kelly Loeffler’s campaign in Georgia, a newly competitive state where the president’s own poll numbers have tightened against former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., according to people briefed on the discussions.
  • The president’s team is planning to stay out of the race until the runoff approaches, which wouldn’t be until January 2021, according to the people briefed on the discussions. 
  • That decision puts the White House at odds with the Republican Senate Campaign arm, which has actively supported Ms. Loeffler and attacked Mr. Collins, and with the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, whose general preference is that the party back its incumbents.
  • Much of Ms. Loeffler’s brief tenure in Washington has been marked by questions about the millions of dollars in stock sales she made shortly after she attended a briefing for senators with top government health officials in late January.
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department have been investigating those sales, reported by Ms. Loeffler and her husband, the financier Jeffrey Sprecher, in the weeks before the coronavirus pandemic rattled financial markets, along with similar transactions made by other senators.
  • The anxieties over the Georgia race come as multiple surveys indicate that the presidential campaign will also be competitive there.
  • G.O.P. officials who have talked to Mr. Trump’s political advisers say that the White House is growing concerned about the state, and that they have been watching voter registration numbers there with trepidation.
  • The president’s challenge in Georgia reflects his broader weakness among suburban voters. Even as he won the state four years ago, he lost Cobb County, outside of Atlanta, which for decades had been a reliably Republican bulwark.

AJC: How Pence’s visit highlighted Georgia’s tense GOP Senate race

  • No longer can a White House trip to Georgia be a simple affair, not with two powerful Georgia GOP factions warring over the administration’s favor.
  • Instead, the visits take on the air of a high school drama, as the two seek to be in the afterglow of the big-man-on-campus.
  • The meeting came at a delicate moment for Loeffler, who has sought to quiet an uproar over stock trades made shortly after she was briefed on the threat of the coronavirus.
  • A spate of recent polls, some by Republican groups, show Loeffler either deadlocked with Collins or trailing him badly. She recently acknowledged she handed over documents to investigators probing the sales.
  • And the presence of Collins in the race has denied Loeffler a circling-of-the-wagons movement to rally Republicans behind her, and his allies are upping the pressure on Loeffler to stand aside to allow the four-term congressman to unite the GOP.
  • With Joe Biden threatening to compete in Georgia in November, some administration officials worry that Loeffler can damage down-ballot contenders.
  • Either way, Loeffler shows no signs of backing down. On the day of Pence’s visit, she released the latest volley of ads in a $4 million TV campaign that seeks to reframe her as an able administrator in the pandemic era – and blames the “trash” media for her problems.
  • Expect Collins and his allies – a group that now includes former Rep. Karen Handel, the foremost suburban Republican woman in Georgia – to keep pushing for her to quit the contest.


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