Wednesday morning inside the Georgia State Capitol, Governor Brian Kemp formally named Kelly Loeffler to the U.S. Senate, as she will succeed and serve out the fourth year of retiring U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson’s six-year term. Flanked by Kemp, Loeffler introduced herself as a devout Christian and outlined the kind of lifelong conservative she is.
“I haven’t spent my life trying to get to Washington. But here’s what folks are gonna find out about me: I’m a lifelong conservative. Pro-Second Amendment. Pro-military. Pro-wall. And pro-Trump,” Loeffler said. “I make no apologies for my conservative values, and will proudly support President Trump’s conservative judges.”
Loeffler is from Bloomington, Illinois and grew up on a soybean farm. She graduated from the University of Illinois and is the CEO of Bakkt, a subsidiary of commodity and financial service provider International Exchange.
Loeffler also voiced her displeasure with the impeachment hearings, maintaining a partisan tone that’s inline with Kemp’s and Republican beliefs.
“With all of the important things to be done in Washington and here in Georgia, I am angered by the impeachment circus.” she said. “I strongly oppose it and believe it is a sideshow and a distraction.”
Kemp tapped Loeffler over political pressure to tap Republican Congressman Doug Collins to finish Isakson’s term. A close ally of President Donald J. Trump, Collins is the top Republican lawmaker on the House Judiciary Committee and is a vocal critic of the impeachment inquiry.
Retiring U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson issued a statement Tuesday regarding Kemp naming Loeffler to his seat.
“I congratulate Kelly Loeffler on her historic appointment to the United States Senate. Kelly’s business experience and acumen will be an asset to Georgia and the Senate. The same tireless work ethic that has helped her succeed in business will also help her succeed in serving Georgians and our nation. It has been the honor of a lifetime for me to serve this great state in the U.S. Senate, and my staff and I will work closely with Kelly to ensure a smooth transition.”
U.S. Sen. David Perdue also issued a statement:
“My number one goal is to continue the best economic turnaround in U.S. history and focus on the needs of the people of Georgia. The only way to ensure that happens is to advance President Trump’s agenda in the U.S. Senate. While Senator Isakson leaves behind big shoes to fill, I look forward to working with Kelly Loeffler, my new partner in the U.S. Senate, to continue that positive change for Georgia and our country.”
Loeffler will run in a special election in 2020 in order to serve out the final two years of Isakson’s six-year term. If successful, she would have to campaign again in 2022 for the U.S. Senate seat, while Governor Kemp is running for re-election.
Loeffler’s supporters say she can grow the Republican base while appealing to women and suburban Atlanta voters, who have fled the party since Trump’s election. Her critics counter that an experienced campaigner with conservative credentials is needed to bring out the Republican base.