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Loeffler launches group to boost GOP turnout, promote 'big tent' policies

Greg Bluestein, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in News & Features

ATLANTA — Former U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler is wading back into Georgia politics weeks after her runoff defeat with the start of a new voter registration group aimed at helping Republicans recover from the stunning Democratic victories in November and January.

The former financial executive framed the launch Monday of the Greater Georgia organization as a Republican answer to the powerful Fair Fight voting rights group that Stacey Abrams started days after her 2018 defeat in the race for governor.

In her first extensive interview since her Jan. 5 loss to Raphael Warnock, Loeffler said the group will focus on a trio of initiatives: Registering droves of likely conservative voters, building a network to promote "big tent" proposals and advocating for conservative electoral policies.

"It's the culmination of what I learned and what I saw firsthand in Georgia's biggest election in its history," she said of GOP losses in Georgia's November presidential election and the Senate runoffs. "You often learn more when you're not successful than when you are, and that's our starting point."

She also confirmed she was weighing a 2022 rematch against Warnock, the Democratic pastor who defeated her by roughly 93,000 votes out of nearly 4.5 million cast. Ex-U.S. Sen. David Perdue, who lost in the other Senate runoff, and former Loeffler GOP foe Doug Collins are both exploring bids as well.

The first part of Loeffler's initiative is an expensive and painstaking effort to reach the roughly 2 million Georgians she said are likely to vote for the GOP if they were mobilized. Loeffler said Democrats are far outpacing Republicans in new voter registrations, and the GOP risks slipping further behind.

 

Another tenet centers on shoring up ground-game infrastructure to amplify conservative messaging "clearly and consistently — not just in an election year." She said Democrats leveraged their robust grassroots advantage in the runoffs, while her campaign had to build an operation "from scratch."

"We always talk about wanting to have a big tent. We can't grow the tent if we take the tent down every two years," she said, adding that it would complement the state GOP. "Greater Georgia is designed to make sure that every campaign has access to a united resource that will help conservatives."

The third part aims to push conservative electoral policies as state lawmakers weigh a range of new voting restrictions after the GOP defeats. Loeffler said her group aims for "transparency and uniformity," such as endorsing a call for ID requirements for absentee ballots that critics say are unnecessary.

"We had unprecedented changes to our election laws in 2020 because of the pandemic. And we need to take a really hard look at the impact of those changes, and why it drove trust in our elections so far down."

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