‘She Understands American Leadership’: Nikki Haley Chooses A Side In Heated Georgia Senate Race

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  • Former UN ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley visited Georgia on Monday to endorse GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler, giving her campaign a boost amid a heated election. 
  • Loeffler was appointed to the seat to replace former GOP Sen. Johnny Iskason, but she still faces a jungle primary in November. Democrats, along with GOP Rep. Doug Collins, have lined up to challenge her. 
  • Haley’s endorsement follows the Georgia GOP’s strategy of courting the suburban female vote ahead of the 2020 elections, which they hope Loeffler’s placement on the ticket will help. 

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley visited Georgia on Monday to publicly support GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler, handing the newly minted lawmaker a key endorsement as she faces challenges from both the left and the right.

Haley, a Republican governor of South Carolina before serving as the Trump administration’s U.N. ambassador, headlined a campaign event in Marietta, Georgia, and officially endorsed Loeffler’s election bid. The rally, which was billed as Loeffler’s biggest since being appointed to the seat, was aimed at shoring up GOP support for her campaign.

Haley touted Loeffler’s work since her appointment in January, entering Congress amid the presidential impeachment hearings.

“And right off the bat, she put her marker down on what she wanted to fight for,” Haley said Monday, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constituion. “But then she went and showed it through her actions. She supported President [Donald] Trump and voted to end the impeachment — and told Congress to get back to work.”

Senators Briefed Behind Closed Doors By Government Agencies On Coronavirus Outbreak

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) walks to an all Senators briefing from administration officials on the coronavirus, on Capitol Hill February 25, 2020 in Washington, DC. Representatives from HHS, CDC, NIH and State Department briefed the Senators. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

“She’s conservative, she understands American leadership, and she’s going to continue to fight for you,” Haley said, standing side-by-side with the senator.

The endorsement gives Loeffler momentum as she faces a challenge from Georgia GOP congressman Doug Collins, who is attempting to cast her as inefficiently conservative.

Loeffler was appointed to the seat by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in January, months after longtime GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson announced he would be stepping down before the end of his term due to his declining health. An election will be held in November to decide who will serve the remainder of the term.

Under Georgia rules, this particular election will be conducted as a jungle primary — meaning candidates from both parties will all face against each other on the same ballot. If no candidates surpasses the 50% mark, the top two candidates will head into a runoff.

After the governor appointed Loeffler, national Republicans had hoped no Republicans in the state would mount a serious challenge against her, allowing her to sail more easily through the jungle primary. Collins’s decision to enter race has drawn extreme ire from conservative and establishment GOP groups alike.

Senate Impeachment Trial Of President Trump Continues

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) arrives at the Senate chamber for the Senate impeachment trial at the U.S. Capitol on January 28, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“Collins is on a self-serving, spite-fueled, political kamikaze mission that threatens to take down President Trump, the Republican majority in the United States Senate, two Senate seats and multiple House seats,” Nathan Brand, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), said earlier in March.

The leading challenger from the Democratic side, Raphael Warnock, endured unflattering headlines over the weekend when the AJC broke the news that he had been in a domestic dispute with his wife. The reverend reportedly was accused by his wife of driving over her foot just days before he filed paperwork to officially run for the seat.

The NRSC, the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConell’s Senate Leadership Fund, the conservative Club for Growth, and the pro-life Susan B. Anthony group have all endorsed Loeffler.

A business executive with no prior political experience, the governor ultimately picked Loeffler with suburban women in mind. Female voters in Georgia have drifted leftward under the Trump era, and Kemp is hoping her addition to the ticket this year will help Republicans across the ballot. (RELATED: Senate Republicans Raise Historic Number In Fundraising For January)

Haley’s appearance on Monday marks the most prominent female endorsement for Loeffler to date.

“She gets it. She lived it. And she’s going to put that in place in Washington,” Haley said of the senator’s past experience.

“The president’’ style is not Kelly’s style, right? But at the end of the day, they both agree on the same results: how we get wages up, how we get unemployment down, how do we make retirements fatter,” Haley continued.

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