President Donald Trump has started to aggressively lobby Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp to appoint Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) as the interim U.S. senator for Georgia, according to a report released Tuesday.
As Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) will retire from the U.S. Senate shortly, Kemp will reportedly choose between House Judiciary Committee ranking member Doug Collins or business executive Kelly Loeffler.
President Trump has increasingly backed Collins for the seat, while Kemp reportedly prefers Loeffler, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Breitbart News has reported how Loeffler has concerning ties to Democrat icon Stacey Abrams, and also that her basketball team, the Atlanta Dream, has promoted the abortion provider Planned Parenthood. Loeffler has also donated $750,000 to Mitt Romney’s failed 2012 presidential campaign, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars to former Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) campaigns and PACs.
Trump reportedly held a meeting with Kemp on Sunday, during which the Georgia Republican presented Loeffler as his top choice. The president told Kemp that he believed that he would be taking a risk by appointing Loeffler, who remains politically untested.
Georgia and national conservatives have urged Kemp to back President Trump, claiming that appointing Loeffler would alienate the state’s conservative base.
Jason Pye, the vice president of legislative affairs at FreedomWorks and a Georgia resident, told Breitbart News that he prefers Collins. Pye said that Collins has a “broader appeal” due to his work to help pass the First Step criminal justice reform bill.
“At this stage, I have a preference for Congressman Collins. I met him when he was in the Georgia House. We worked with his office on the First Step Act and regularly check in with him on various issues that come before House Judiciary,” Pye told Breitbart News. “First Step was, of course, a significant bill that draws support from independent and moderate voters. It shows that Congressman Collins has a broader appeal.”
The Wall Street Journal wrote that “other conservatives,” who remain nameless, “point out” that Rep. Collins, a white male, “may hold less appeal in a state where the minority population is growing and both Democrats and Republicans expect a tough fight in 2020.”
Many Georgia conservatives contend that Loeffler is a “country club Republican” who will alienate Georgia’s Republican base, which the Senate appointee will need for the 2020 Senate election fight.
Georgia conservative activist Debbie Dooley told Breitbart News that “conservatives overwhelmingly would much rather have Doug Collins than a Romney-RINO Republican” such as Loeffler.
Tea Party Patriots cofounder Jenny Beth Martin said Monday that Georgia conservatives “would far prefer” Collins over Loeffler.
She said in a statement:
He [Collins] is the top Republican on the committee that will consider articles of impeachment against President Trump. From his position on the Judiciary Committee, he has fought to safeguard Second Amendment rights and uplift our nation’s law enforcement officers. Congressman Collins has shown he is a strong defender of the President who has endorsed him for this promotion. He would be a welcome addition to the United States Senate, and we urge Gov. Kemp to appoint him to fill the vacancy created by Sen. Isakson’s early retirement.
The Tea Party Patriots leader said that appointing Loeffler to the U.S. Senate “wouldn’t just be promoting a liberal to replace a conservative, it would make a mockery of those who cast votes for Sen. Isakson, Gov. Kemp, and President Trump.”
Martin noted that Loeffler has also donated to “left-wing Democrat senators like Tom Harkin and Chris Dodd!”