Georgia's Gov. Brian Kemp chooses Kelly Loeffler as new senator

Kathryn Krawczyk

Georgia officially has its next senator.

Just a day after Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) gave his farewell address to Congress, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) confirmed Wednesday he would appoint Kelly Loeffler to succeed him. Loeffler is a wealthy business leader who co-owns Atlanta's WNBA team, and as Politico reports, she's already gearing up to use $20 million of her own money to retain her seat in an election next year.

Isakson announced his end-of-year resignation from the Senate back in August, putting both his seat and Sen. David Perdue's (R-Ga.) into play next year. Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) was discussed as a possible replacement for Isakson, but Kemp went with Loeffler even over the prodding of President Trump, Fox News' Sean Hannity, and other conservatives. Kemp and Loeffler both acknowledged that criticism as she was named Wednesday, with Kemp declaring "we need less critics and more public servants."

Loeffler's appointment happened at the same time Collins, the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, unabashedly defended Trump in the first of the committee's impeachment hearings. Collins did recently say he's still "strongly" considering running for one of the two seats next year, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said she'll have the full support of the party if she runs to keep her spot, and her own cash infusion could make a challenge even more unlikely.

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