Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp will likely tap business executive Kelly Loeffler to the U.S. Senate despite strong criticism from his conservative base over Loffler’s affiliation with Planned Parenthood, Stacey Abrams, and establishment Republicans, according to a report released Friday.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Friday that Kemp plans to tap business executive Loeffler next week as he will attempt to appeal to Georgia suburban women despite the conservative opposition to Loeffler.
Kemp’s potential nomination of Loeffler will defy President Donald Trump, prominent conservative organizations, and Georgia’s conservative base that helped Kemp get elected to the governor’s office.
Breitbart News has reported how Loeffler has concerning ties to Democrat icon Stacey Abrams, and also that Loeffler’s basketball team, the Atlanta Dream, has promoted the abortion provider Planned Parenthood. Loeffler has also donated $750,000 to Mitt Romney’s failed 2012 presidential campaign as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars to former Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) campaigns and PACs.
The Georgia governor’s nomination of Loeffler could also spark a contentious primary fight, as House Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), Trump’s favorite for the seat, told the Journal-Constitution that he is “strongly” considering a run for the Senate seat if he is not picked.
Trump has reportedly lobbied Kemp to tap Collins three times in recent weeks. Trump expressed doubt over Loeffler, who remains politically untested.
Reports that Kemp will nominate Loeffler to the U.S. Senate has engendered outcry from conservatives in the House as well as across Georgia’s Republican base.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), a strong ally of Trump and supporter of his America First policies, said that Kemp is “hurting President Trump” by nominating a business executive who donated “$700k plus to Mitt Romney and nothing to Trump until she wanted in the Senate?”
Gov. Kemp, do you have any idea how absurd it is to tweet that your big push-back against the “establishment” is a donor who gave $700k plus to Mitt Romney and nothing to Trump until she wanted in the Senate?
What’s next? Appointing Michael Vick to an animal welfare task force?
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) November 29, 2019
.@realDonaldTrump told you how to be supportive: Appoint @RepDougCollins.
You are ignoring his request because you THINK you know better than @POTUS.
If you substitute your judgement for the President’s, maybe you need a primary in 2022. Let’s see if you can win one w/o Trump https://t.co/vtjT4CyLMI
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) November 29, 2019
Georgia conservative activist Debbie Dooley said that Kemp is “set to betray his base and” Trump by nominating Loeffler.
Brian Kemp set to betray his base and @realDonaldTrump His Tweets intentionally misled conservatives into thinking he would endorse a conservative. #gapol
Georgia gov expected to tap finance exec to US Senate next week https://t.co/Zti7hh9Isq
— Debbie Dooley (@Crimsontider) November 29, 2019
Doolie said in a statement to Breitbart News that “Brian Kemp is betraying his base by appointing Romney RINO Loeffler.”
She added, “Kemp and his folks will next try to trick folks into believing she is a conservative.”
Loeffler’s lack of political experience as well as what many conservatives call concerning ties to Planned Parenthood and establishment Republicans has prompted many conservatives to urge the governor to pick Collins over Loeffler.
On Wednesday, several pro-life groups, including Concerned Women for America, Susan B. Anthony’s (SBA List) List, and the March for Life, came out against Loeffler.
SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said Wednesday that business executive Loeffler should be “disqualified” as an appointee for the U.S. Senate due to her affiliation with a hospital that serves as an “abortionist training hub.”
Jason Pye, the vice president of legislative affairs at FreedomWorks and a Georgia resident, told Breitbart News that he prefers Collins. Pye said that Collins has a “broader appeal” due to his work to help pass the First Step criminal justice reform bill.
Tea Party Patriots cofounder Jenny Beth Martin noted that Loeffler has also donated to “left-wing Democrat senators like Tom Harkin and Chris Dodd!”
Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. hosted a fundraiser for Collins in late October and said in November that Collins “is a fighter and exactly the kind of person Republicans should want in the senate. We need someone who gets it, not someone who will have to learn on the job.”
.@RepDougCollins is a fighter and exactly the kind of person Republicans should want in the senate. We need someone who gets it, not someone who will have to learn on the job. https://t.co/TZMCIttBBO
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) November 20, 2019