Republicans launch 50-state strategy to raise cash for Georgia Senate runoffs

Senators David Perdue, left, Kelly Loeffler, center, and Florida Senator Rick Scott, right, joined together for a rally on Friday, November 13, 2020 at Black Diamond Grill in Cumming, GA.  Both Georgia candidates head to a run-off election in January.  (Jenni Girtman for The Atlanta Journal Constitution)
Senators David Perdue, left, Kelly Loeffler, center, and Florida Senator Rick Scott, right, joined together for a rally on Friday, November 13, 2020 at Black Diamond Grill in Cumming, GA. Both Georgia candidates head to a run-off election in January. (Jenni Girtman for The Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Credit: Jenni Girtman

Credit: Jenni Girtman

Senate Republicans have launched a national campaign headed by veteran strategist Karl Rove to oversee fundraising for twin Georgia runoffs that will decide control of the chamber.

Rove, a former adviser to George W. Bush, is serving as the national finance chair of the Georgia Battleground Fund, a joint account between the National Republican Senatorial Committee and U.S. Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue.

Republicans have lined up big-name politicos from all 50 states for the effort, which involves former Vice President Dan Quayle, former Gov. Chris Christie and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.

A group of Georgians have also joined the initiative. Veteran Republican strategists Nick Ayers and Alec Poitevint are national co-chairs, as is First Lady Marty Kemp. And Eric Tanenblatt, the high-powered Republican operative, is chair of the Georgia campaign.

“The only way to rein in the excesses of a Democratic White House and a Democratic House of Representatives is to have a Republican Senate,” Rove told Fox News on Wednesday.

“This is the last line of defense to conservative values. If we don’t have a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate, they’re going to have a clear path to this nutty agenda.”

Senate Republicans, along with the GOP incumbents, have combined to raise at least $32 million to finance TV ads and expand a get-out-the-vote operation against Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. The campaigns and their allies have already spent or reserved more than $120 million worth of ads.

The national GOP fundraising effort undercuts a favorite attack of Georgia conservatives, who have long blasted Democrats for taking out-of-state money. Still, it’s not a new trend for state Republicans, who have increasingly expanded their fundraising efforts outside state lines.

An Atlanta Journal Constitution analysis found that about $20 million of the $27 million raised by the Georgia GOP ahead of the Nov. 3 vote came from outside the state. Democrats, too, have raised heaps of cash from donors from across the country.

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