Loeffler wins support of state Labor commish in Senate bid

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler speaks with a visitor in his downtown Atlanta office.

Credit: Bita Honarvar, bhonarvar@ajc.com

Credit: Bita Honarvar, bhonarvar@ajc.com

U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler picked up the endorsement of Labor Commissioner Mark Butler for her November special election bid.

Butler, a three-term Republican, said Tuesday that Loeffler had the “proven experience to help Georgia get back to work and shake up the status quo in Washington.”

Butler had been one of the last statewide officials who hadn’t taken sides in the race to fill the remaining two years of retired U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s term.

Gov. Brian Kemp and many of his allies have lined up behind Loeffler, a former financial executive whose husband runs the company that owns the New York Stock Exchange.

Her chief Republican rival, U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, has won support of other top Republicans, including Agriculture Secretary Gary Black and, most recently, House Speaker David Ralston.

Some recent polls show Loeffler with a slight edge over Collins in the contest, which features all candidates on the same ballot with no primary to filter nominees.

Democrats Matt Lieberman and Raphael Warnock are among the 20 candidates challenging Loeffler in the wild contest, which is likely to be settled in a January runoff between the two top finishers.

With Butler’s endorsement, only a handful of top Georgia Republicans remain neutral in the race. U.S. Sen. David Perdue, who is also facing a November election, has stayed on the sidelines. So has state Superintendent Richard Woods.

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