Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley is set to endorse U.S. Kelly Loeffler’s campaign for U.S. Senate at an event on Monday in Atlanta, a senior Republican official with direct knowledge of the decision told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Haley, a former South Carolina governor, is a potential future presidential contender and one of the most sought-after endorsements in Republican politics. She posted a tweet Wednesday promoting a “super exciting announcement” in Atlanta next week.
Loeffler is at the center of a wild “jungle” special election in November to fill out the remaining two years of retired U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s term.
U.S. Rep. Doug Collins formally filed paperwork to challenge her despite pressure from some GOP leaders to get out of the race - and an overture from President Donald Trump offering him a potential job in his Cabinet.
And three prominent Democrats also plan to qualify for the seat this week, a free-for-all contest with no primaries to filter out nominees that seems likely to head to a January runoff.
Since she was appointed to the office in December by Gov. Brian Kemp, Loeffler has quickly tried to consolidate Republican support and earn President Donald Trump’s favor. But she faces a stiff challenge from Collins, a four-term congressman who is trying to brand her as an out-of-touch political newcomer.
Loeffler has picked up endorsements from key state and national figures, but she’s likely to place special emphasis on Haley’s support. She’s hoping to win November’s election by wooing suburban women voters, and Haley could help her win them over.
A poll released Wednesday by the University of Georgia showed the race is tight as ever. Loeffler, a financial executive, tallied 19% of support and Collins had 21% - within the margin of error. Collins has a 9-point lead among Republicans, while Loeffler has a slight edge with independents.
Matt Lieberman, the son of former Sen. Joe Lieberman, was the only Democrat of the four polled in double-digits with 11% of the vote.
Trailing him with 6% of the vote is the Rev. Raphael Warnock, the pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church who recently entered the race with the support of Stacey Abrams and national party figures. Former prosecutor Ed Tarver had about 4% of the vote.
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Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC