“Playing Hardball”: GOP’s “Bitter Brawl” Heats up As Loeffler Allies Scramble to “Undermine” Collins

February 27, 2020

Loeffler, Collins, and their allies attack each other in “most bruising terms yet” in battle that GOP worries “could wound Republicans”

ATLANTA — Two new reports today show Republicans’ “bitter brawl” between unelected “political mega-donor” Kelly Loeffler and top Trump ally Congressman Doug Collins is showing no signs of slowing down as both sides ramp up their attacks using the “most bruising terms yet.”

Loeffler’s allies are still scrambling to “undermine” Collins as Loeffler struggles to define herself with Georgia voters, trying to shut down Collins fundraisers and run digital ads against Collins at a conservative conference where he was invited to speak — and where Loeffler was snubbed. Loeffler herself, meanwhile, is still reeling from recent revelations about her secretive private jet as well as the infamous hunting ad she cut — despite not having a Georgia hunting license.

Between these new “hardball” tactics from Loeffler allies and the ongoing slugfest between Collins and Loeffler that’s been “anything but polite,” it’s clear that the GOP has plenty of reason to be worried about “a battle that could wound Republicans in Georgia this fall” up and down the ballot.

Read the latest on Republicans’ expensive and bitter brawl:

AJC: Loeffler’s allies are playing hardball in Georgia Senate clash with Collins 

  • A powerful Washington organization that backs U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler took steps to undermine a fundraiser for her Republican challenger, leading his campaign to lash out at the group in some of its most bruising terms yet.
  • Campaign aides said they were forced to scrap the fundraiser to “protect donors” after the National Republican Senatorial Committee sent an email to top aides to GOP senators warning them to steer clear of the event.
  • “This is as close to illegal as you get without the handcuffs, but it’s actually helping us,” said Dan McLagan, a spokesman for Collins.
  • The two Republicans are engaged in a bitter brawl that has divided the party and left President Donald Trump searching for ways to avoid an even nastier November special election.
  • The two have scrambled to lock up support from prominent Georgia leaders, national figures and Washington-based groups that can pump money into the race.
  • It’s even spilled over into a behind-the-scenes fight over vendors pressured by the NRSC to boycott his bid.

AP: Fight by 2 Republicans for Georgia Senate seat unnerves GOP

  • A Republican congressman’s decision to challenge freshly appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler is pitting two visions of the GOP’s future against each other. So far, it’s divided voters and been anything but polite.
  • Against the backdrop of this year’s presidential and congressional elections, the showdown looms as a test of which path makes sense for the GOP in a red-leaning state where Democrats have carved robust inroads.
  • The fight has fed GOP worries of a battle that could wound Republicans in Georgia this fall. Trump, GOP Sen. David Perdue and the state’s 14 House seats will also be on the ballot.
  • Republicans fret that a drawn-out battle between Loeffler and Collins will bloody both, leaving a Democrat unscathed and likely qualifying for the runoff.
  • “If we’re busy tearing ourselves apart in September and October, we could lose Sen. Perdue and lose the state for the president and lose” Loeffler’s seat, too, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., said in an interview.
  • Kevin McLaughlin, who runs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, tweeted Thursday that Collins’ campaign was a “kamikaze mission” whose staffers don’t “give a damn about irreparable harm they’re doing to Collins or POTUS,” the acronym for president of the United States.
  • The state’s suburbs, echoing the rest of the nation’s, have turned increasingly blue, which along with growing populations of Hispanics and other minorities have made Democrats more competitive and Republicans nervous.
  • “It’s no secret that Republicans have been hurting among college-educated women in suburban communities across the nation, and Atlanta is filled with college-educated suburban women voters,” said GOP pollster Whit Ayres.


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