Don’t count out Senator Kelly Loeffler in the Senate race, at least not yet. The question was asked of her during an interview with Politico Thursday. As mentioned earlier this week, tongues are wagging that perhaps the time has come for Loeffler to gracefully end her campaign, given her recent troubles as they are related to possible insider trading trouble.
“Not only am I not dropping out, but I’m gonna win,” Loeffler said Thursday. “And no one’s going to intimidate me into thinking that that’s the right course for our party, for our state, for our country. I’m working hard to help reelect the president. I’m working hard to win my seat and keep the Senate in Republican hands.”
Senators Burr, Feinstein, and Loeffler have come under investigation for stock transactions after COVID-19 briefings earlier this year. Loeffler was also interviewed by the FEC. It should be noted that both Feinstein and Loeffler say they are innocent. Feinstein says her investment banker husband’s financial dealings are completely separate from hers. Loeffler, married to Jeffrey Sprecher, chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, says her holdings are in a blind trust, managed by a third party. Senator Burr’s brother-in-law is a target in the FBI’s investigations. None of this is good if a politician is running for re-election, or in the case of Loeffler, running to be elected to a full term. Burr has stepped down as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
It’s been a bumpy ride for Senator Loeffler from the start of her time in the Senate. At the time that Georgia Governor Brian Kemp appointed her to fill the vacancy that Senator Isakson’s resignation due to health reasons caused, she faced strong competition for the appointment from Rep. Doug Collins. Collins is a Trump loyalist and was a fierce voice of support when the Impeachmentpoolza circus came to town. Loeffler was favored by Gov. Kemp as a person who could fill the vacancy and bring along Independent and women voters in the 2020 election. Though Trump personally lobbied Kemp for Collins, he chose Loeffler. Kemp immediately declared he would challenge her for the seat in 2020.
Senator Loeffler has tried to do all she can to beat back the bad publicity caused by the questionable financial transactions. Seizing the opportunity to firm up his lead over her in the polls, Collins has pounced, to use a popular phrase coming from the left these days.
Since news of her stock trades broke, Loeffler has tried to erase the cloud hanging over her. She insists her financial transactions were done through a third-party adviser, vowed to divest from her individual stocks and recused herself from a Senate agriculture subcommittee. She’s also donated $1 million to provide food for hungry Georgians during the economic crisis.
But Loeffler’s portfolio threatens to overshadow everything else. And Collins knows it.
“Instead of working for the people of Georgia for the past five months in D.C., she seems to have been working for herself,” he said in an interview Thursday. “Because all she’s been able to do is have to explain her stock scandal and left her doing nothing else more than that.”
Loeffler blames the liberal media and says she is just a supporter of free enterprise. She hasn’t answered the question of if the FBI has contacted her for an interview or whether she’s requested an Ethics Committee investigation into her own finances, as Burr did. So far, all she admits to is that she has turned over pertinent documents, though she says she’ll cooperate with any SEC or Ethics Committee investigations that may come.
None of the interparty fightings between Loeffler and Collins is good for the party and its chances of victory in the November election. Senator Perdue, the other Republican in the U.S. Senate, is also up for re-election. Perdue hasn’t weighed in if he’ll campaign for Loeffler or not, especially given restrictions in place now due to the coronavirus pandemic. Campaigning in 2020 is different than in traditional elections. Perdue, if he is hesitant, can simply point to not wanting to appear together with Loeffler due to the virus.
It’s getting ugly between Loeffler and Collins. Georgia has a jungle primary and Collins has led Loeffler in polling. Neither is taking any criticism without responding in like. Loeffler notes her surprise that she is not only being attacked from the left, which she expected, but also from the right.
Loeffler has indicated she’s ready to go on the offensive, describing Collins in the interview as a “do-nothing, career politician who has tax and spend as a strategy.” Collins retorted: “It’s amazing she can read a cue card from her consultants.”
I hope Kelly Loeffler hangs in there and continues to run for a full term. She’s been a good senator for Georgia so far. She voted to acquit Trump in the Senate impeachment trial. She has worked to secure relief for Georgia during the coronavirus pandemic through the CARES Act and she has introduced proposals for economic recovery. The senator has the backing of many of her Senate GOP colleagues as well as the National Republican Senatorial Committee. One thing that both candidates are keeping hope alive for, no doubt – an endorsement from Trump. That would be a game-changer.