Sen. Kelly Loeffler conceded Thursday night to Senator-elect Raphael Warnock in the special election to replace Sen, Johnny Isakson in the U.S. Senate.
With nearly all the votes counted Thursday night, Warnock had about 2,266,000 votes, good for 50.9% of the vote to Loeffler’s 2,187,000 votes, or 49.1%.
“While my heart breaks at not being able to continue to serve Georgia and America, I’m tremendously proud of all we achieved together,” Loeffler said in a video message to supporters. “And I owe so much to my incredible team that became like family to me – both in my campaign, and my official office. It’s been an honor to serve together. And I know we will always honor the memory of our amazing teammate, Harrison Deal.”
Deal was a member of Loeffler’s team who was killed in an automobile crash last month.
Loeffler’s term in office will last just over a year. She was sworn in Jan. 6, 2020 after Isakson stepped down citing declining health.
Loeffler grew up in Illinois, where she earned degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and DePaul University.
She rose through the business world to become head of investor relations, marketing and communications for the Atlanta-based Intercontinental Exchange, a financial trading platform founded by Jeff Sprecher, whom she later married. Intercontinental Exchange eventually purchased the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange. Loeffler is believed to be one of the wealthiest members of Congress.
The ability to fund her own campaign with tens of millions of dollars was one of the reasons Gov. Brian Kemp’s chose Loeffler to succeed Isakson. Another was her presumed appeal to moderate suburban Atlanta women whose votes Republicans were desperate to hold on to.
Instead, Loeffler turned hard to the right in a primary contest against U.S. Rep Doug Collins, a staunch conservative and defender of the president. Both candidates lurched ever rightward in an attempt to appeal to the state’s most conservative voters. One infamous ad featuring a grunting man in tribal garb called Loeffler “more conservative than Attila the Hun.”
As the runoff race grew hotter, Loeffler was one of the loudest voices proclaiming false conspiracy theories that the election had been stolen from President Donald Trump. On Wednesday, after a far-right mob of Trump supporters took control of the Capitol, Loeffler reversed course on her plans to object to Georgia’s election results.
“The violence, the lawlessness and siege of the halls of Congress are abhorrent and stand as a direct attack on the very institution my objection was intended to protect,” she said.
At debates, in ads and at campaign stops, Loeffler sought to paint Warnock as a radical leftist bent on releasing criminals onto the streets and defunding police departments. She often referred to herself and Sen. David Perdue as the country’s last “firewall against socialism.”
She took a more conciliatory tone in her concession address, noting that she called Warnock to congratulate him and wish him well, but she also vowed to keep working to advance her conservative agenda.
“Rest assured: the fight to advance the American dream is far from over,” she said. “The fight to protect conservative values is far from over. And the fight against socialism and the radical agenda of the left is very far from over.”