The Jolt: A soon-to-be senator not yet ready for her close-up

Kelly Loeffler's roll-out continued with a debut digital ad highlighting her introductory speech last week and a Tuesday meeting in Washington with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

But even as she’s introducing herself to Republican movers-and-shakers in D.C. and Atlanta, Loeffler has yet to sit down with members of the press, beyond a few cursory questions at her inaugural press conference last week.

Among the questions she’ll face is how she’ll reconcile her past donations to Democratic candidates, her stance on “religious liberty” legislation, her plans to avoid conflicts of interest with her business interests -- as well as those of her husband, her $20 million investment in her own campaign, and how she plans to broaden the GOP’s appeal.

Look, we get that Loeffler is not a typical Senate candidate. She’s not a candidate at all, in fact. A candidate would roll out a campaign and then promptly embark on a media blitz to earn as much free attention as possible.

As a senator-designee, Loeffler must simultaneously build an official staff and a campaign operation, while also making amends with a slew of grassroots activists and elected officials that are skeptical, at best, of her intentions.

But Loeffler can’t avoid cameras, digital recorders and notebooks for long. And pretty soon, every time she steps foot in or out of the U.S. Senate chamber, she’ll be surrounded by national reporters with little knowledge of Georgia politics hounding her for answers.


On that same point, Roll Call raises the question of how the owner of the Atlanta Dream will "appease a suspicious conservative base loyal to Trump while operating in a professional sports league so at odds with him." From the newspaper:

[T]he demographic makeup of the women's basketball league is 83 percent players of color (two groups Trump could charitably be described as "struggling" to win over), according to the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport.

In fact no WNBA champion, including the 2019 Washington Mystics, has visited Trump at the White House — once a pro forma event that has been upended and politicized since Trump took office.


Former Georgia congressman Jack Kingston, who applied for that open U.S. Senate seat, gave his full-throated endorsement for Kelly Loeffler on Bloomberg TV. Said Kingston on Monday:

“We Republican men in Georgia, we kind of have the white male, the rural vote, the traditional Republican vote. Unfortunately, the last election shows we don’t have the suburban vote …” he said, continuing:

"If you look at Karen Handel, she lost because a lot of traditional Republican suburban women voted the opposite way because they don't like the president. I think Karen Handel's going to be a great candidate, but we lost a lot of other people … center-right Republicans got wiped out in the last election, and we think adding this element back on the ticket in a major way not just with Kelly Loeffler and Karen Handel but with many other women."


The Wednesday print column takes a look at a Cobb County race for sheriff and the implications of a lockdown at the county jail. Except that we've been told there's no longer any such thing as a "lockdown." Word has flowed downhill, informing deputies that it is now to be called "restricted dayroom access."


We had a good chuckle at the collage of faces made by U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, during Monday's Judiciary Committee hearing on impeachment. Check out the "combo pic du jour" compiled in today's Axios AM newsletter:

Photos: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

icon to expand image


Support for a new North American trade deal could be a boost for U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath's re-election bid in Georgia's Sixth District.

She supports the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement, a deal that was finalized until President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ironed out details earlier this week. Voting in favor of the trade agreement can help McBath signal that she is willing to support Trump priorities even as she simultaneously backs his impeachment.

In a statement, McBath pointed out that this replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement is supported by the business community and labor unions. She indicated that companies in her own district had lobbied her to back the measure.

“Since coming to Congress, I have heard from business owners across the Sixth District who have been asking for a trade agreement that strengthens our economy and protects hard-working Americans,” she said.

Gov. Brian Kemp and other top Republicans are also supportive of the deal. U.S. Sen. David Perdue told the AJC the pact would increase GDP in the U.S. by roughly $68 billion, create nearly 180,000 new jobs and bolster the country's negotiating position as it revisits its trade relationship with China.

There are some critics, including fruit and vegetable growers who say the new agreement doesn’t have enough protections against Mexican imports priced lower than their products. But the measure is expected to have bipartisan support when it comes to the House floor for a vote.

The Republican-led Senate is likely poised to support the measure, too, sending the USMCA to Trump where he can claim a win. However, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell says his chamber won’t take up the trade agreement until after an expected impeachment trial in January.


A Sonny Perdue scion is following in his father's footsteps.

Dan Perdue, the son of the former Georgia governor and current U.S. agriculture secretary, recently announced a run for a Houston County Commission seat.

He said in his roll-out that he was “surprised and frankly humbled” to have been encouraged to compete to replace retiring commissioner Larry Thomson in the middle Georgia county.

“I believe in public service and have enjoyed my various public service roles in the past,” said Perdue, a farmer and local businessman. “So I have agreed to run and I am looking forward to it.”


The Rev. Al Sharpton is back in Atlanta, this time urging black pastors to get their congregations fired up for the 2020 elections.

Sharpton is scheduled to speak at the Conference of National Black Clergy's Leadership Recognition Dinner tonight. The founder of the National Action Network was also here last month, hosting five Democratic presidential candidates at a civil rights breakfast.