“A Mess”: Fractured Georgia Republicans Still Engaged In “Brutal” Infighting After Senate Race Losses

“The Republican Party In Georgia Right Now Is Like A Jenga Game Where Someone Has Pulled Out The Wrong Block”

After a bruising 2020 cycle that was plagued by nasty and divisive infighting, Georgia Republicans are entering the 2022 election cycle still engaged in the same brutal internal battles that tore them apart for the past year. A new Atlanta Journal-Constitution report details how the Georgia Republican Party is “unstable and a mess” amid their desperate efforts to recover after Democrats won the presidential race and then swept the Senate runoffs in January in this rapidly shifting battleground state.

The “volatility” at the top of the ticket starts with the failed Georgia Republicans still relitigating their losing Senate races — and reports suggest that Kelly Loeffler, Doug Collins, and David Perdue are all considering running again. Loeffler and Collins allies are already “pointing fingers” and blaming each other for Loeffler’s defeat last month. Meanwhile, the feud between former President Donald Trump and local GOP officials that drove “a wedge” among voters in Georgia is widening into a deep chasm. Republicans are “bracing for tough potential primary challenges” and sending desperate warning flares that the “divisive” primaries hurt their chances up and down the ballot. One former Republican candidate described the numerous conflicts as “like a Jenga game where someone has pulled out the wrong block…It’s unstable and a mess.”

And as Republicans struggle to deal with growing internal fallout, Democrats “enter the election cycle with a head of steam.” Recent polling “showed top Democrats with significantly better approval ratings than their GOP rivals,” and they are starting with “an advantage that Republicans can only dream about now: unity at the top of the ticket.”


Atlanta Journal-Constitution: ‘A mess.’ Georgia politicians prepare for brutal 2022 battles
By Greg Bluestein
February 5, 2021

Key Points:

  • Down the ticket, some Republican officeholders are in the same position as Kemp — bracing for tough potential primary challenges from Trump’s allies before they can think about facing a Democrat. Some are weighing whether to hang it up.
  • “The Republican Party in Georgia right now is like a Jenga game where someone has pulled out the wrong block,” said Martha Zoller, a conservative commentator and former GOP congressional candidate. “It’s unstable and a mess.”
  • [Democrats] enter with an advantage that Republicans can only dream about now: unity at the top of the ticket.
  • They enter the election cycle with a head of steam. An Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll released last week showed top Democrats with significantly better approval ratings than their GOP rivals, with Abrams and Warnock both in positive territory.
  • The volatility on the Republican side of the ticket starts at the top. The race to challenge Warnock is essentially frozen until Perdue decides whether to mount another Senate bid. He’s viewed as unlikely to run again after his defeat to Jon Ossoff, but his advisers also say he hasn’t definitively ruled it out.
  • The former Fortune 500 executive is probably the only candidate who could clear the field of other well-known challengers, but two other 2020 Republican rivals are also ruminating on a run: Loeffler and former U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, who fought throughout the year for a spot in the runoff against Warnock.
  • Allies of both are pointing fingers over which Republican was to blame for Loeffler’s stunning upset defeat last month. Loeffler’s camp blames Collins for entering the race, forcing her to run to the party’s right flank, while his former hands say the infighting could have been avoided had he been Kemp’s pick for the open seat.
  • “Doug getting in the race muddied all that up. It created a primary in a general election and caused a split in the party,” he said.
  • People close to Collins, who is expected to make his decision by April, are urging Loeffler to sit this one out.
  • “Kelly can either be the person whose boredom costs Republicans the Senate twice or become a jeopardy answer that no one will remember the question to,” said Dan McLagan, Collins’ former spokesman. “Hated or forgotten.”


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