Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s mind appeared to be made up when he arrived in Washington for a meeting with President Trump to discuss the replacement for Sen. Johnny Isakson’s (R-GA) seat. Kemp brought along financial executive Kelly Loeffler, whom he is expected to select this week to fill the vacant seat. In August, Isakson announced he would be stepping down at the end of the year for health reasons.
Although White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham tried to put a positive spin on last Sunday’s meeting, most reports said it had not gone well and had ended quickly.
The President and other Republican leaders have been lobbying the Governor to choose Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, who has served four terms in Congress and has been one of Trump’s greatest defenders. They know Collins would provide a “bulwark against impeachment proceedings” in the Senate. Collins has said that if he is not chosen, he will primary Loeffler in the 2020 “special election” for the seat.
Several senior GOP officials have told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) that Kemp plans to announce Loeffler’s appointment next week. Kemp believes that the selection of a woman would appeal to women “who have fled the party in recent years.” The state’s Republican Party has been “dominated by white male elected officials.”
This is no small thing. Amazingly, Loeffler’s appointment would mark only the second time the state has sent a woman to represent them in the U.S. Senate. According to AJC, in 1922, “Rebecca Latimer Felton served for one day in the chamber in 1922 following the death of Sen. Tom Watson.”
Moreover, Loeffler and her husband are quite wealthy and it is expected that she will spend some of her personal fortune on the race for reelection. According to AJC, Loeffler “runs the Bakkt bitcoin trading platform that’s a subsidiary of the Intercontinental Exchange, the behemoth Atlanta-based financial firm headed by her husband. She is also a co-owner of Atlanta’s WNBA franchise.”
In addition to the fact that President Trump and his allies would like to see Collins receive the appointment, there are several valid reasons they oppose Loeffler. She has contributed to Democratic candidates and they “question her support for a range of key issues, such as gun rights and anti-abortion efforts.”
Penny Young Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America (CWA), tweeted:
She (Loeffler) sits on the board of a hospital in Atlanta that employs five abortionists and actually runs the largest training program for abortionists in GA. She is also part owner of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream. The WNBA has been an outspoken supporter of Planned Parenthood, even partnering with the pro-abortion organization in opposing pro-life policies. Also she has given thous of $$ in campaign contrib to liberal and pro-abortion candidates. There are better choices for Gov.Kemp 4 the next U.S. Senator from GA. He has a list of fantastic pro-life candidates. We hope he doesn’t pick the one the pro-life community will oppose.”
1/3🚨 @briankempGA Governor Kemp needs to know Kelly Loeffler would be the wrong choice for conservatives in Georgia and supporters of President Trump on several fronts. She sits on the board of a hospital in Atlanta that employs five abortionists and
— Penny Nance (@PYNance) November 27, 2019
🚨 Also she has given thous of $$ in campaign contrib to liberal and pro-abortion candidates. There are better choices for Gov.Kemp 4 the next U.S. Senator from GA. He has a list of fantastic pro-life candidates. We hope he doesn’t pick the one the pro-life community will oppose
— Penny Nance (@PYNance) November 27, 2019
The Wall Street Journal reported that she and her husband also contributed more than $750,000 in 2012 to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.
The special election presents a problem for Republicans because all candidates, Democratic or Republican, will appear on the same ballot. AJC explains:
If multiple well-funded Republicans enter the contest, they could slice up the GOP base, providing an opportunity for a Democrat with his or her party’s unified support. The state Democratic Party has yet to identify such a candidate. “But several lower-profile contenders have entered the race, including Matt Lieberman, an educator and entrepreneur who is the son of former U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut. “At this point, whatever pick Kemp makes will be significantly damaged,” party spokesman Alex Floyd said, “forced to limp into November 2020 facing inflamed tensions and internal fights at a time when Georgia Republicans can’t afford either.
In a letter to Kemp, Loeffler wrote, ““If chosen, I will stand with President Trump, Senator David Perdue, and you to Keep America Great.” She and her husband contributed $200,000 earlier this month to the RNC to participate in a Trump roundtable in Atlanta. In her Senate application, she wrote that she shares “Kemp’s priorities to strengthen the border, shutdown drug cartels and human traffickers, lower healthcare costs, and protect our national interests.”
And the conflict has escalated on Twitter in recent days as well.
You all begged for @realDonaldTrump’s support.
Now, you are directly acting in contravention to his request.
And you think attacking the clothing of the President’s defenders in Congress is your next best play.
You aren’t good at this. https://t.co/GTJyPQq08z
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) November 29, 2019
Inquiring minds want to know if you prefer flat front jorts, pleated jorts, or cargo jorts with room to put all of your Legos, Pokémon cards, and jellybeans. Oh…and mind your own business. We don’t know you and we don’t care what you think. #gapol https://t.co/3lA20lDjR9
— Ryan Matthew Mahoney (@Ryan_Mahoney) November 29, 2019