Loeffler’s GOP Defections Get Worse as Handel Latest to “Break Ranks” Following Ethical Scandals

May 7, 2020

After a week filled with breaking news around Loeffler’s growing scandals, Handel endorses opponent in latest blow to her flailing campaign

ATLANTA — Unelected “political mega-donor” Senator Kelly Loeffler’s week continues to get worse. After reports of her “huge payday” from ICE forced her to resign from a subcommittee — but not the main committee — with “direct jurisdiction” over ICE’s industry, today former Congresswoman Karen Handel became the latest GOP official to “break ranks” and endorse Loeffler’s opponent, top Trump ally Congressman Doug Collins.

Loeffler has already spent the past few weeks dealing with growing GOP defections as Collins picked up support from Congressman Drew Ferguson along with his first statewide endorsement. Loeffler’s intraparty problems have gotten so bad that now a major pro-Trump super PAC is launching a “seven figure” ad campaign against her while an outside group promising to “anonymously bring down Kelly Loeffler” recently announced “plans for a larger and more aggressive media operation.”

As her own allies go off the air in Georgia, Loeffler is now in the “fight for her political life” as her growing ethical scandals and refusal to answer key questions about her shady stock trades continue to become major liabilities with her own party — not to mention Georgia voters. The AJC might have put it best: “One by one, Kelly Loeffler’s advantages are disappearing.”

Read about Loeffler’s latest GOP defection and growing campaign problems:

AJC: Karen Handel backs Doug Collins’ bid for US Senate

  • Republican Doug Collins picked up another key GOP supporter for his U.S. Senate bid on Thursday as former U.S. Rep. Karen Handel endorsed the congressman’s challenge to incumbent Kelly Loeffler.
  • She is among a handful of Republicans to recently break ranks with Gov. Brian Kemp, who appointed Loeffler to the seat in December over Collins and other applicants in part because he hoped she could appeal to suburban women who have fled the party.
  • Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state, is one of the most prominent women in the Georgia GOP.
  • Handel’s endorsement comes as Loeffler, a former financial executive who is self-financing her campaign, faces more scrutiny over her stock transactions and her ties to Atlanta-based Intercontinental Exchange, the financial trading platform her husband runs.
  • Her candidacy has sharply divided Georgia Republicans at a time when Democrats are aiming to upend GOP control of the state.

AJC: The Jolt: One by one, Kelly Loeffler’s advantages are disappearing

  • The rationale behind Gov. Brian Kemp’s appointment of Kelly Loeffler to the U.S. Senate is coming under increasing stress.
  • In the beginning, her wealth meant the Buckhead Republican could self-fund two statewide contests in two consecutive election cycles – but that advantage is rapidly eroding.
  • First, there was the controversy over her stock trades during a pandemic.
  • Then last Friday, Loeffler finally submitted documents detailing her financial assets and interests…The New York Times quickly noted that she had received a $9 million pay-out when she left her executive position at the Intercontinental Exchange, parent company of the New York Stock Exchange.
  • Last night, Loeffler had announced that she had asked to be removed from the Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management and Trade, a panel that has oversight of exchanges such as those owned by ICE.
  • Loeffler’s selection was predicated on the fact that her first ballot contest…would have the flavor of a general election, and she could escape the hardcore dynamics of a GOP primary. But that just hasn’t been the case.


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