Hi, there, Dear Reader. It’s early afternoon here in New Hometown, Florida on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. Currently, the temperature is 68˚F (20˚C) under sunny skies. With humidity at 30% and the wind blowing from the south-southeast at 5 MPH (8 KM/H). the feels-like factor is 68˚F (20˚C). The forecast for the rest of the afternoon calls for partly sunny skies and a high of 70˚F (21˚C). Tonight, we can expect partly cloudy skies and a low of 49˚F (9˚C).
Well, it looks like Democratic voters in Georgia managed to elect at least one of the two Democratic challengers of Republican incumbent Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. As I write this, it is clear that Loeffler – a political appointee chosen in January 2020 by Georgia’s Republican governor Brian Kemp to replace Republican senator Johnny Isakson, who resigned on December 31, 2019 – lost a special runoff election to Democratic candidate Ralph Warnock. (The other Senatorial race, between Republican incumbent David Perdue and Democratic challenger Jon Osoff, is still too close to call at press time.)
Both of the incumbents in Georgia are wealthy entrepreneurs and Trump loyalists. Perdue has worked as a management consultant and a high ranking executive at Reebok and PillowTex. Before running for the U.S. Senate in 2014, Perdue was chief executive officer of Dollar General. His net worth is $15.8 million (as of 2018).
Loeffler is perhaps the better-known Republican candidate, not just because of the headlines she made last spring after she and her uber-wealthy husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, sold off stock in companies that would be adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and bought stock in others that would increase in value because of the lockdown and the need for people to work remotely from home.
Per an article on CNN by Chris Cillizza, Kelly Loeffler’s disastrous Senate term:
Appointed Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s loss at the hands of Rev. Raphael Warnock (D) on Tuesday brings to an end one of the most ignominious Senate terms in modern memory.
Yes, there have been shorter tenures. (Georgia Democratic Sen. Rebecca Latimer Felton served for only a single day!) And, yes, plenty of other appointed senators have lost when they ran for election in their own right. (Like Arizona’s Martha McSally, who lost in November.) But few — if any — appointed senators have so tarnished their personal reputation as Loeffler did in the year she spent in the world’s greatest deliberative body.
After pointing out that Governor Kemp chose Loeffler as a moderate Republican voice with a reputation for running a business and as part of the Atlanta community (she’s one of the owners of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream), Cillizza writes:
In her earliest days in the Senate, Loeffler tried to position herself as just that: A successful businesswoman bringing some much-needed outsider perspective to Washington. In an ad she ran soon after being appointed, Loeffler touted her mantra “hard work and results really matter.”
That plan appeared to go out the window in the spring of 2020, when Loeffler (and her husband) found themselves in the middle of a massive controversy regarding a series of stock sales just before the coronavirus pandemic shut down the American economy.
As CNN wrote at the time:
“Loeffler and her husband sold 27 stocks between January 24 and February 14 at a value of $1.28 million and $3.1 million, according to Senate financial disclosure records. They also purchased three stocks for between $450,000 to $1 million, including shares in Citrix, a software company used for teleconferencing that’s one of the few that’s gained value amid the coronavirus outbreak. Citrix’s stock was $122.03 on February 14, the day it was purchased, and closed at $125.31 on Thursday.”
Amid questions of whether her position in the Senate gave her advance notice of the coming catastrophe, Loeffler told Fox News at the time that she was “not involved in the decisions around buying and selling” of her stocks. While she continued to insist that she had done nothing wrong, Loeffler announced in April that she and her husband were selling off all of their individual stocks.
Perhaps believing that Donald J. Trump truly represents the future of the Republican Party, Loeffler has since veered from the moderate center of the GOP to its far right wing. Angered by the criticism aimed at both her husband and her, Loeffler lashed out against the “liberals” and the media, tossing out her favorite epithet, “socialist,” for good measure.
That episode seemed to mark a clear turning point in how Loeffler positioned herself politically. As questions were raised about the stock trades, Loeffler turned to accusations of socialism, of all things, to defend herself. This comes from a Fox News interview in mid-April:
“This was a political attack designed to take away from the issue at hand. And to use this outbreak to play politics. We have addressed this and taken extraordinary measures to make sure that we can’t be attacked for our success. This gets at the very heart of why I came to Washington, to defend free enterprise, to defend capitalism. This is a socialist attack.”
So this near-billionaire whose net worth is $800 million not only likes to play the “socialist” card, but she is now one of Trump’s staunchest supporters. Since the November election, Loeffler has jumped on the lame duck President’s “stolen election conspiracy” bandwagon and milked it for all it’s worth.
Loeffler clearly deserved to lose this runoff. Not only did she become a Trump sycophant, but some of her early pre-runoff rallies were veritable COVID-19 super spreader events in which she rarely wore a mask, and most of her supporters never did.
On November 20, 2020, Loeffler spoke without a mask at a rally in Canton, Georgia, 46 days before the runoff. Later that day, she tested positive for COVID-19; the result of a test she took the next day was inconclusive. She had intermittently worn a mask while campaigning. Attendees at her rallies tended to go mostly maskless.
As Ice Cube says in Friday (and many people use as a meme on the Internet), “Bye, Felicia!”
Updated to Add: And it’s official – the race between David Perdue and Jon Ossoff has been called. Ossoff wins, and Georgia’s two Senators are Democrats.
Sources: Kelly Loeffler’s disastrous Senate term, Chris Cillizza, CNN (January 6, 2021)
Kelly Loeffler, Wikipedia page