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Loeffler leaves door open to 2022 rematch against Warnock

Loeffler leaves door open to 2022 rematch against Warnock
© Bonnie Cash

Former Sen. Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerHerschel Walker skips Georgia's GOP convention Georgia agriculture commissioner launches Senate campaign against Warnock 9 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2022 MORE (R-Ga.) is weighing a 2022 rematch against Sen. Raphael WarnockRaphael WarnockWhy the Democrats need Joe Manchin Bipartisan senators introduce bill to protect small businesses from cyberattacks MLB calls lawsuit over All-Star Game 'political theatrics' MORE (D-Ga.). 

In an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published on Monday, the former senator said that a 2022 campaign for her old seat is “certainly on the table,” though a decision isn’t imminent. 

Loeffler said that her focus for the time being is on building out a new organization, Greater Georgia, that is intended to function as a Republican version of Fair Fight, the voting rights group backed by former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. Greater Georgia was launched on Monday.

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“Right now there is no answer on the Republican side to a comprehensive platform that provides the resources, the scale, the network, the message, the communications platform that we need for statewide success in 2022 and beyond,” Loeffler told the newspaper. 

She added: “Frankly, I think what we have to do is the work that I’m doing right now. I don’t know if any Republican can win if we don’t shore up what we’re doing around voter registration, engagement and election integrity.”

Loeffler served in the Senate for little more than a year after she was appointed to replace former Sen. Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonLoeffler group targets Democrats with billboards around baseball stadium Warnock raises nearly M since January victory Five big takeaways on Georgia's new election law MORE (R-Ga.) in late 2019. She faced a brutal intraparty challenge in the 2020 general election from former Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsGeorgia agriculture commissioner launches Senate campaign against Warnock Poll shows tight GOP primary for Georgia governor The Hill's Morning Report - Census winners and losers; House GOP huddles MORE (R-Ga.) before ultimately advancing to a Jan. 5 runoff against Warnock. 

Warnock won the runoff by a narrow 2-point margin. Sen. Jon OssoffJon OssoffStacey Abrams calls on young voters of color to support election reform bill MLB calls lawsuit over All-Star Game 'political theatrics' Georgia agriculture commissioner launches Senate campaign against Warnock MORE (D-Ga.), meanwhile, beat out former Sen. David PerdueDavid PerdueGeorgia agriculture commissioner launches Senate campaign against Warnock Georgia Republican secretary of state hits Loeffler as 'weak,' 'fake Trumper' Warnock raises nearly M since January victory MORE (R-Ga.) in a simultaneous runoff election, giving Democrats control of both of Georgia’s Senate seats for the first time in nearly two decades.

The Democratic victories on Jan. 5 added to a disappointing two-month stretch for Georgia Republicans. In November, President BidenJoe BidenEx-Biden adviser says Birx told him she hoped election turned out 'a certain way' Cheney rips Arizona election audit: 'It is an effort to subvert democracy' News leaders deal with the post-Trump era MORE beat former President TrumpDonald TrumpEx-DOJ official Rosenstein says he was not aware of subpoena targeting Democrats: report Ex-Biden adviser says Birx told him she hoped election turned out 'a certain way' Cheney rips Arizona election audit: 'It is an effort to subvert democracy' MORE in the state, making him the first Democratic presidential candidate since 1992 to carry Georgia.

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Loeffler isn’t the only former Republican lawmaker considering a run for Warnock’s seat. Perdue said last week that he is mulling a 2022 bid against Warnock, and Collins is also said to be weighing a run for the Senate, raising the possibility of a repeat of his bitter 2020 fight with Loeffler.

In her interview with the Journal-Constitution, Loeffler appeared to downplay the notion of a 2022 campaign by Collins. She noted her 6-point victory over the former congressman in the November general election and warned that fighting among Republicans would only serve to deepen the party’s losses.

“I appreciate Doug’s service to our country. I appreciate his work in our runoff. I beat Doug by 6 points in the general election,” she said. “But the outcome is what happens when Republicans team up with Democrats to attack other Republicans.”

“It doesn’t end well for Republicans, and it hurt us up and down the ticket,” she added. “My focus is on lessons learned. We need to make sure that together, we’re moving forward, and strengthening our party, not tearing it apart.”