Georgia’s soon-to-be Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) will spend $20 million of her personal fortune on her bid to hold on to her Senate seat next year, according to a person familiar with her plans.
Loeffler, the multimillionaire CEO of an Atlanta-based financial services firm, was appointed on Wednesday to replace retiring Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) in 2020. Her appointment sets up a special election next year that is expected to draw both Republican and Democratic challengers.
Because it will be a special election, there won’t be primaries to determine the Republican and Democratic nominees, and candidates of all parties will appear on the ballot in November. If no candidate manages to reach the 50 percent threshold, a runoff election between the top two finishers will be held in January 2021.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s (R) decision to tap Loeffler for the Senate seat has prompted frustration from some Republicans and allies of President Trump, who had pressed Kemp to appoint Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, to take over for Isakson when he retires at the end of the year.
Even before Loeffler’s appointment on Wednesday, Collins had suggested that he may run for the Senate seat in 2020 if he was not appointed to replace Isakson.
Nevertheless, Senate Republicans have rallied behind Loeffler. The National Republican Senatorial Committee is expected to back her next year, and she has won praise from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
After Kemp announced Loeffler’s appointment on Wednesday, McConnell called on Senate Republicans to come out in support of the Atlanta businesswoman.
“Senator-designate Loeffler will have my full support for reelection in 2020 as a Republican incumbent and I encourage all my colleagues to join me,” McConnell said in a statement.
Still, next year’s race for Isakson’s seat is expected to be an expensive one, as Democrats and Republicans alike are expected to pour money into the race.