Loeffler’s husband gives $5.5M to boost her Senate campaign

New Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia participates in a re-enactment of her swearing-in Monday with her husband, Jeff Sprecher, center, and Vice President Mike Pence. Polls show many Georgians still have not formed an opinion about Loeffler, while she’s also drawing scrutiny over how her new duties in the Senate could have an impact on the business dealings of her husband, the chairman and chief executive of Intercontinental Exchange. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s wealthy husband is digging deep into his checkbook to help his wife’s November special election campaign.

Finance records released late Thursday show that Jeff Sprecher contributed $5.5 million to the pro-Loeffler Georgia United Victory PAC, a free-spending outside group formed in August to boost the Republican’s campaign.

Sprecher, who runs the Atlanta-based company that owns the New York Stock Exchange, doled out the vast sum in three separate contributions between Aug. 6 – days after the group was formed – and Sept. 2.

The group raised about $9.8 million overall and has roughly $450,000 left in its account. Other big donors include $1 million from hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin and $500,000 from Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, a Republican mega-donor.

Two Washington-based conservative groups also chipped in hefty contributions to Loeffler, who is running to fill the remaining two years of retired U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s term. Policies, Solutions and Action for America gave about $1.5 million, while RightOn Issues added another $1 million.

“We’ll let the numbers speak for themselves,” said Martha Zoller, a spokeswoman for the group.

The spending is on top of the $20 million that Loeffler has loaned to her own campaign through four separate installments of $5 million since she was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp to the vacant seat. Loeffler is a former financial executive at Intercontinental Exchange, the financial trading platform her husband runs.

Since Georgia United Victory was formed by Kemp and his allies – the group’s acronym is “GUV” – it has aired rounds of attack ads that skewer U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, her Republican arch-rival in the messy special election.

More recently, the group snapped up about $2.5 million worth of airtime for the final weeks of the race and sent a glossy magazine – dubbed “Red Clay” – to Republican voters with a cover image of Loeffler and President Donald Trump. Inside was a mock ad for a Stacey Abrams book panning Collins.

Though Collins out-raised Loeffler this quarter, taking in about $2.3 million over the last three months, he can’t keep up with the tidal wave of outside cash pouring into her campaign. Instead, he’s focused his bid on presenting himself as the authentic conservative - and painting her as a bandwagon Republican.

With nearly two dozen candidates on the same ballot, the two are competing for a spot in a likely January runoff along with Democratic frontrunner Raphael Warnock, an establishment-backed pastor who has soared ahead of both in recent polls.

The pro-Loeffler PAC shares advisers within Kemp’s sphere of influence and seen as a possible vehicle for his 2022 re-election campaign. The governor, who picked Loeffler over Collins for the open seat, has much political capital on the line, and his former chief of staff recently stepped down to join the group.

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