By Manu Raju and Alex Rogers, CNN
Former Sen. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia met with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday, as she considers whether to wage a rematch against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock next year when he runs for a full six-year term.
“I haven’t ruled it out,” Loeffler told CNN.
Asked why she met with McConnell, Loeffler added: “I’m updating the leader on the situation in Georgia.”
Republicans are searching for a top-tier Senate candidate in the crucial battleground state after former GOP Sen. David Perdue and former Rep. Doug Collins said they would not run for office in 2022. The most prominent challenger so far is Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, who launched a Senate bid this month.
Herschel Walker, the former Heisman Trophy-winning running back for the University of Georgia, lives in Texas but has been urged to run for Senate in Georgia by former President Donald Trump. Trump has known Walker since the mid-1980s, when he owned the United States Football League’s New Jersey Generals and gave Walker a contract extension.
Before Black’s entry to the race, Walker’s interest froze the GOP primary field for months. Georgia Rep. Buddy Carter has said that he would run if Walker declines.
Loeffler lost to Warnock by two points in January January in one of two runoffs that flipped the Senate to Democrats. Since then, she has launched an organization, Greater Georgia, aiming to serve as a counter to Fair Fight, the voting rights organization founded by Democrat Stacey Abrams. Loeffler has also kept in touch with Trump, recently meeting with the former President in Bedminster, New Jersey, and wishing him a happy birthday on Twitter.
While some Georgia Republican strategists are seeking a fresh face to defeat Warnock, Loeffler’s past supporters say she has the deep pockets and ability to win in the midterm year.
“Kelly remains a formidable opponent,” said a Georgia Republican political operative. “She’s doing all the things that you would need to do if you were going to run.”