Meet candidates for Georgia’s U.S. Senate Seat: Loeffler, Collins, Warnock, Liebermann and Tarver

Meet candidates for Georgia’s U.S. Senate Seat: Loeffler, Collins, Warnock, Liebermann and Tarver
Kelly Loffler, Raphael Warnock, Doug Collins, Matt Lieberman and Ed Tarver are among 20 candidates running for one of Georgia's U.S. Senate seats. (WSB-TV)

Georgia is in the rare position of having both of its U.S. Senate seats up for election this year after Sen. Johnny Isakson retired unexpectedly due to health concerns. Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Kelly Loeffler to serve until the state could hold a new election, which will happen this November. That seat was previously held by Zell Miller (D), Paul Coverdell (R) and Herman Talmadge (D). Twenty candidates have qualified for this race and will be on the ballot. We’re breaking down the top five contenders, according to recent polls.

Kelly Loeffler (R) - Incumbent

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Background: Loeffler was born in Illinois and raised on her family’s farm. She earned a BS in Marketing from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MBA in International Finance and Marketing from DePaul University. In 2018, she became the CEO of Bakkt. She later moved to Georgia and married Jeffery Sprecher, the CEO of International Exchange, which owns the NYSE. She is part owner of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream and was appointed U.S. senator by Gov. Brian Kemp after the retirement of Johnny Isakson.

Where she stands on the issues:

  • Health care: Loeffler says Georgians need affordable and accessible health care. Working with President Donald Trump, she says she is working to make prescription drug prices more affordable and to eliminate surprise medical billings.
  • Jobs & Economy: Loeffler says she is working in Washington to advance “pro-growth” economic policies. She also says she is championing President Trump’s economic agenda.
  • Coronavirus: Loeffler states that she is in constant contact with state and federal agencies regarding the pandemic. She introduced a bill to expand rural health care access and voted for additional funding to support the federal response to coronavirus.
  • Website: kellyforsenate.com

Doug Collins (R)

Background: Collins was born in Gainesville, Georgia and is the son of a former Georgia State Trooper. He graduated from the University of North Georgia with a BA in Political Science and Criminal Law. He served in the U.S. Air Force reserve as a chaplain and attained the rank of lieutenant colonel. Collins was also a senior pastor at a Hall County church. Voters elected him to Congress in the 9th District in 2013. He headed President Trump’s impeachment defense team.

Where he stands on the issues:

  • Health care: Collins believes in free-market solutions to health care issues and voted 50-times to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He said he believes health care should be affordable and accessible to all Georgians.
  • Jobs & Economy: Collins says he champions “pro-growth” policies and has worked to reduce unnecessary bureaucratic burdens on small businesses. He supported President Donald Trump’s tax cuts.
  • Coronavirus: Collins holds China responsible for the pandemic, blaming them for letting the virus spread throughout the world. He sponsored legislation that would allow President Trump to put economic sanctions on China if it refuses to cooperate with an international investigation into the pandemic’s origins.
  • Website: dougforgeorgia.com

Raphael Warnock (D)

Background: Warnock was born in Savannah, Georgia and grew up in public housing. He graduated from Morehouse College and later earned a Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary. In 2005, he was named senior pastor at Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, which was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s church. Warnock chaired the New Georgia Project, a voter registration organization.

Where he stands on the issues:

  • Health care: Warnock is a fierce advocate for Medicaid expansion and even protested for it in Gov. Deal’s office. He wants to improve and build upon the Affordable Care Act. He also opposes the influence of pharmaceutical and Insurance companies in Washington.
  • Jobs & Economy: He would push to revoke tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs to other countries and supports made-in-America initiatives. Warnock wants to help small businesses get access to capital, particularly those owned by minorities and women. He advocates for a living wage.
  • Coronavirus: Warnock believes the pandemic exposed the health care gap between rich and poor, white and Black, and urban and rural Georgians. He says we should listen to medical experts on how to respond to the virus and believes in a plan for robust testing and contract tracing.
  • Website: warnockforgeorgia.com

Matt Lieberman (D)

Matt Lieberman is running for the U.S. Senate in Georgia
Matt Lieberman is running for the U.S. Senate in Georgia (WSB-TV)

Background: Lieberman is the son of former Democratic Vice Presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. He earned a law degree from Yale University. He is a former teacher and school administrator. In 2010, he started a business to provide health care to small businesses, families and union members.

Where he stands on the issues:

  • Healthcare: Lieberman says every Georgian should have access to affordable health care, and that’s why he says he supports a public option. He supports the Affordable Care Act.
  • Jobs & Economy: He believes the country must reduce its use of fossil fuels and supports the goal of achieving a net-zero emissions policy. He believes in investing in the clean energy industry.
  • Coronavirus: Lieberman blames both sides for what he calls a failure of government to respond adequately to the coronavirus. He also blames both sides for the failure to pass a new stimulus bill to help Americans get through the pandemic.
  • Website: liebermanforsenate.com

Ed Tarver (D)

Ed Tarver is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Georgia.
Ed Tarver is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Georgia. (WSB-TV)

Background: Tarver was born in Texas. He earned a BA from Augusta University and a law degree from the University of Georgia. He served in the U.S. Army as a field artillery officer. Tarver was elected to the Georgia State Senate and served for four years. In 2009, President Obama appointed him as the first African American U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.

Where he stands on the issues:

  • Healthcare: Tarver wants to expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program. He wants to enhance protections to preexisting conditions and increase coverage for uninsured and underinsured Georgians.
  • Jobs & Economy: Tarver says he wants to increase the government’s commitment to overhauling the nation’s infrastructure. He would like to eliminate the gender wage gap and stimulate small businesses.
  • Coronavirus: Tarver wants to see more COVID-19 testing in places outside of major population centers to help stop the spread of the virus. He wants more bed capacity, PPE and rapid testing. He states that he wants to see more help for Georgians other than just government payouts.
  • Website: tarverforsenate.com
Poll: Trump jumps ahead of Biden; Warnock and Perdue lead senate races