Loeffler won’t say whether she’ll formally challenge Biden’s win in Senate

‘There’s a lot to play out,’ she says

U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler won’t say whether she’ll formally challenge President-elect Joe Biden’s victory when Congress convenes a day after twin Jan. 5 Georgia runoffs to decide control of the U.S. Senate. U.S. Sen. David Perdue won’t have a say even if he wins another term.

The two Republicans have refused to acknowledge Biden’s victory and echoed President Donald Trump’s false assertions of widespread voter fraud. They’re under pressure not to alienate the president – and his loyal base – ahead of the high-stakes election.

Shortly after she cast her ballot on Wednesday, Loeffler was noncommittal over whether she would join an effort by U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama to challenge Biden’s victory when Congress meets to formally ratify the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6.

The effort is doomed to fail. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has congratulated Biden on his victory and told his GOP colleagues Tuesday that he wouldn’t back the push to circumvent the voter’s will.

Still, some supporters of the president have sought to cast Loeffler, who has relentlessly promoted her pro-Trump voting record, as a wild card who could join the challenge in the Senate. Pressed on her stance, Loeffler said Jan. 6 is a “long ways off.”

“We’ve got a Senate race to run here in Georgia. We’ve got to win – the future of the country is on the line,” she said, adding when asked to sharpen her position: “I haven’t looked at it. January 6 is a long way out, and there’s a lot to play out between now and then.”

Asked multiple times whether she conceded Trump’s defeat after the Electoral College confirmed Biden’s victory, Loeffler repeated that the president “has a right to every legal recourse and that’s what’s playing out right now.”

Courts at every level have rejected challenges from Trump and his allies, including a U.S. Supreme Court decision last week to toss a lawsuit brought by Texas to throw out the election results in Georgia and other battleground states.

During his visit to Georgia on Tuesday, Biden pressed Georgians to remember that Loeffler and Perdue both endorsed that ill-fated Texas lawsuit as he urged Democrats to rally behind Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.

“Maybe your senators were just confused. Maybe they think they represent Texas,” Biden said. “Well if they want to do the bidding of Texas, they should be running there instead of here in Georgia.”

Perdue can more easily duck the debate over whether to formally protest Biden’s win. His Senate term ends on Jan. 3 – two days before the runoff vote – and he can’t participate in any Senate business until the runoff results are certified, a process that could take weeks.