Messages exchanged ahead of the January 5th Senate elections in Georgia show how former Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler was pushed to fall in line with efforts to overturn the 2020 election—although they don’t particularly show any attempt on her part to resist.
Legislators who reached out to Loeffler, the Kemp-appointee who lost her first and only Senate race in 2020, in the messages include Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who invited her to a White House planning session centered on objecting to the electoral votes on January 6th; Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), who urged her to join a public statement regarding the objection; and various aides and other go-betweens who warned her that she couldn’t afford not to be on board.
Ultimately, Loeffler tweeted out a statement promising that she would support objections to the electoral vote, and apparently requested that Donald Trump retweet it ahead of her campaign rally so she wouldn’t be “booed off the stage.”
At the same time, other messages show others in her party pushing back, including the wife of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Tricia Raffensperger sent Loeffler texts condemning her attacks on election integrity and accusing her of having a role in driving threats and harassment against her family.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:
The copies of the text exchanges were sent to the AJC anonymously, and it’s not immediately clear how the messages were obtained…The AJC confirmed the veracity of the exchanges with four people who were participants in some of the conversations.
The messages shared don’t seem to include many of Loeffler’s responses, though they do include her contacts with her advisors, showing her dithering on how to handle the situation.
The report shows that, in the last days of the campaign, Trump insisted on a show of support in exchange for his presence at a rally ahead of the election.
Loeffler tweeted this out:
— Kelly Loeffler (@KLoeffler) January 4, 2021
Even then, Loeffler continued to receive messages pressuring her to make public statements of support for the then-president’s election denials, including one from Representative Rick Allen (R-GA), who said she needed to announce at the rally that she would object to Georgia’s electoral votes.
Trump showed up at the rally as promised, but according to CBS, his appearance wasn’t necessarily helpful — instead of focusing on the Republican candidates, Loeffler and David Perdue, he ranted and rambled about election conspiracy theories, an ongoing theme by that point that some in Republican leadership blame for the Georgia losses that would follow, and the resultant loss of control of the Senate.
Ultimately, Loeffler lost her election by fewer than 95k votes, and Perdue lost his by about half as many, ceding control of the Senate to Democrats as Trump was ousted from the White House.
Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.