Trump Intervention in GA U.S. Senate Contest Causing Friction in GOP Ranks

President Trump reportedly is bringing strong pressure on Governor Kemp to appoint his choice to fill the U.S. Senate seat becoming vacant with the resignation of Senator Johnny Isakson. According to the AJC, Trump has contacted Kemp at least twice to urge him to appoint U.S. Rep. Doug Collins. one of Trump’s fiercest  lapdogs in Congress.

The AJC says “the pressure seems likely to backfire. Kemp is a staunch Trump supporter…but he also bristles at the outside pressure.” Another strong contender has also emerged: Kelly Loeffler, a financial executive and co-owner of Atlanta’s WNBA franchise.

Kemp reportedly has two African American members of his administration on his shortlist – Robyn Crittenden and Allen Poole. And Kemp has said said he wants to tap an “unconventional” candidate–probably meaning a black person, in Georgia parlance.

Isakson has announced he will retire at the end of the year for health reasons. Kemp will appoint a successor to hold the seat until the 2020 elections, when voters will choose a Senator to hold the office for the remainder of Isakson’s term, which expires in January 2023. The election for a full six-year term will be held in November 2022.

In the November 2020 election, Republican and Democratic candidates will be grouped together on the same list.  There will be no party primary contests beforehand..

Potential Democratic Candidates

The AJC reports that State Democrats, meanwhile, are apparently waiting on Kemp’s pick to unveil their own party-approved candidate for the seat. Among the names most mentioned are:

  • State Sen. Jen Jordan
  • Former U.S. Attorney Ed Tarver
  • DeKalb County Chief Executive Michael Thurmond
  • Rev. Raphael Warnock.

Matt Lieberman, the son of former U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, has also announced his campaign for Isakson’s seat.

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