Georgia election chief sets qualifying for US Senate special

February 24, 2020 GMT

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia’s secretary of state has set the qualifying period for the special U.S. Senate election featuring Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and GOP Rep. Doug Collins.

Qualifying in the race will take place next week from March 2-6, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office announced Monday. That’s the same window that candidates in other 2020 Georgia races must officially declare to get on the ballot.

The move could limit the amount of opposition Loeffler, who was sworn in Jan. 6, will face during her campaign to fill the two years remaining in the unfinished term of GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson. The Nov. 3 election won’t be preceded by the usual party primaries, meaning that multiple Republicans and Democrats could be on the ballot.


Raffensperger had sought a last-minute change to state law to ensure he’s authorized to set the qualifying period in the race, but that legislation has been bogged down by an attempt to require party primaries for some special elections.

“Raffensperger set the qualifying period for the upcoming special election in accordance with decades of past practice and precedent, in addition to Georgia law, that provide for the Secretary of State to set qualifying periods for special elections,” a statement from Raffensperger’s office said.

Collins’ decision late last month to challenge Loeffler has broken open a feud among Republicans for the U.S. Senate seat at a time when Democrats increasingly see the state as winnable.

In addition to Collins and Loeffler, three Democrats have announced their candidacy in the race. Ed Tarver is a former federal prosecutor who served as U.S. attorney for Georgia’s Southern District under President Barack Obama. Matt Lieberman is an educator and the son of former senator and vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman. The Rev. Raphael Warnock is the pastor of the Atlanta church where Martin Luther King Jr. once preached.