“It is with an extremely heavy heart that we mourn the loss of Harrison Deal. My heart aches for his family, and (husband) Jeff (Sprecher) and I will continue to surround them in love and prayer in the days ahead. Harrison was a beloved member of our campaign team. More importantly, Harrison was a smart, bright, loving, loyal and outstanding young man. Harrison embodied the very best of this campaign — and the very best of our state.”
Deal died in a three-vehicle crash on I-16 East near Pooler Parkway around 10 a.m. Friday, according to Pooler police spokeswoman Lindsey Heintzman. Pooler is about 14 miles west of Savannah.
Kemp and his wife announced they were also canceling their plans of meeting with Pence in Savannah after they received the tragic news about Deal.
In a Twitter post, Kemp wrote, “Today, we lost a member of our ‘Kemp Strong’ family and words cannot express how much Harrison Deal’s life, love and support meant to us. He was a person of deep faith, unmatched integrity, and incredible kindness. Harrison was the Kemp son and brother we never had.”
Kemp, who has three daughters, added, “2020 has been marked by adversity, tragedy and pain. For the Kemp Family, weathering this storm will be the most difficult challenge yet.”
Perdue also released a statement on social media, describing Deal as “a smart, kind young man” who had “a bright future ahead of him.”
“Bonnie and I are devastated to learn of the passing of Harrison Deal,” Perdue wrote. “We are praying for his parents, Curt and Jenni Deal, and his sisters, Hannah and Halli. I ask the people of Georgia to join us in keeping the entire Deal family in their hearts on this terrible day.”
Loeffler’s Senate opponent, the Rev. Raphael Warnock, also offered his condolences on Twitter.
Deal, a University of Georgia student, appeared in multiple social media posts with members of the Kemp family. According to his Facebook page, he graduated from Bulloch Academy in Statesboro. His father is a Bulloch County commissioner.
According to Heintzman, Pooler police have not released the exact cause of the crash and are continuing to investigate. She added that others involved in the wreck suffered minor injuries and were treated at the scene.
The crash was one of two that occurred in the area Friday morning, WSAV-TV reported. There was another incident on the interstate at mile marker 154 around 11 a.m., the news station said.
Pence was in Georgia on Friday for the second time in two weeks to stump for Republican runoff candidates, part of the all-out GOP push to convince rank-and-file voters to return to the polls ahead of the Jan. 5 vote to decide control of the U.S. Senate.
Before his scheduled Savannah rally in support of Loeffler and Perdue, Pence met with coronavirus experts at Atlanta’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.