During a contentious Sunday night debate ahead of next month’s pivotal Senate runoff elections in Georgia, Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler refused to acknowledge that President Trump lost the 2020 presidential election.
Speaking one day after she vowed to stand by the president as he stumped for Georgia’s GOP Senate contenders at a Peach State rally, Loeffler repeatedly called for additional ballot investigations in answer to questions by debate moderators and Democratic opponent Rev. Raphael Warnock.
“President Trump has every right to use every legal recourse available,” the GOP incumbent responded.
“We’ve run two audits and those audits discovered thousands of ballots across several counties here in Georgia that were not counted,” she went on, noting the state’s recount, which affirmed Joe Biden won.
“We need to hold folks accountable involved in these investigations to make sure that they move more quickly, because everything’s at stake,” she added.
The national spotlight is trained on Georgia ahead of two Senate races which will determine who controls the upper chamber of Congress.
Democrats are hopeful that they can snatch Loeffler’s seat and that of GOP Sen. David Perdue to bring the balance of power to 50-50, using Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote.
Trump’s post-election litigation efforts having also focused on the Peach State. Trump has claimed without basis that he won Georgia and has attacked GOP state officials who have called the state for Biden.
Sen. Kelly LoefflerBen Gray/Pool via REUTERS
Loeffler, a businesswoman worth an estimated $165 million, took Warnock to task over his past anti-police, anti-gun comments from the pulpit of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, the congregation once led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., where he is senior pastor.
“My opponent radical liberal Raphael Warnock is a socialist. He supports policies that would grow our government and bankrupt hardworking families with high taxes,” Loeffer said.
“He wants to fundamentally change America into a socialist country. Well, I’m not going to let that happen,” she said.
The 50-year-old lawmaker and Warnock are advancing to a Jan. 5 runoff election after neither candidate reached the 50 percent of the vote needed to be declared the winner.
Warnock accused Loeffler of having “no vision” and dragged her for infamously dumping millions of dollars worth of stocks following a private, chamber-wide meeting on the coronavirus on Jan. 24.
“I’ve spent my life standing up fighting for ordinary people,” Warnock said.
“Kelly Loeffler is trying to misrepresent me because she knows that she has spent the first 10 months of her tenure thinking about herself.”
Loeffler has aligned herself closely with Trump, bolstering his false claims that he won the state of Georgia, appearing with Perdue at the president’s Georgia rally, and calling on GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to resign.
Both candidates did however find one thing to agree on during Sunday’s debate and said they would take the COVID-19 vaccine once its been approved and deemed safe.
“When our health professionals tell us that we have a vaccine that works and is effective and safe, I will take it,” Warnock said.
Raphael WarnockBen Gray/Pool via REUTERS
The reverend said he’d also encourage members of his church to get the shot — and if elected, would work to ensure “that communities that are so often marginalized don’t find themselves at the back of the line again.”
Loeffler answered along the same lines, and also praised the work of the Trump administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in tackling the disease.
“I could not be more proud of what we’ve done this year to deliver relief, but also get cures,” she said.
“I’m going to encourage my fellow Georgians to stay safe, get that vaccine, and we have a great plan to prioritize those communities who need it most and we will make sure that that’s carried out.”
Perdue skipped his own debate with Democratic opponent Jon Ossoff earlier Sunday night, leaving the senate hopeful to debate an empty podium.