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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 LoefflerAdvocates warn restrictive voting bills could end Georgia's record turnout Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee Bipartisan bill would ban lawmakers from buying, selling stocks MORE (R-Ga.) is weighing a 2022 rematch against Sen. Raphael WarnockRaphael WarnockAdvocates warn restrictive voting bills could end Georgia's record turnout 'Bloody Sunday' to be commemorated for first time without John Lewis LeBron James's More Than A Vote ad campaign focuses on defending voting rights 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 leaves door open to 2022 rematch against Warnock Perdue on potential 2022 run: GOP must regain the Senate Bottom line 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 Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Finger-pointing on Capitol riot; GOP balks at Biden relief plan Perdue rules out 2022 Senate bid against Warnock 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 OssoffAdvocates warn restrictive voting bills could end Georgia's record turnout Klain on Harris breaking tie: 'Every time she votes, we win' Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee MORE (D-Ga.), meanwhile, beat out former Sen. David PerdueDavid PerdueAdvocates warn restrictive voting bills could end Georgia's record turnout Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee Bipartisan bill would ban lawmakers from buying, selling stocks 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 BidenLawmakers, activists remember civil rights icons to mark 'Bloody Sunday' Fauci predicts high schoolers will receive coronavirus vaccinations this fall Biden nominates female generals whose promotions were reportedly delayed under Trump MORE beat former President TrumpDonald TrumpUS, South Korea reach agreement on cost-sharing for troops Graham: Trump can make GOP bigger, stronger, or he 'could destroy it' Biden nominates female generals whose promotions were reportedly delayed under Trump 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.”