Karl Rove leads new Republican fundraising group for pivotal Georgia Senate races


(CNN)Senate Republicans have picked Karl Rove to serve as the national finance chairman for the Georgia Battleground Fund, a joint fundraising account formed by the National Republican Senatorial Committee to support Georgia Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler ahead of their January runoff races to keep their seats.

Rove, a former adviser to President George W. Bush, now leads a group that will be crucial to the Republican effort to keep both seats and save their Senate majority.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, former Vice President Dan Quayle and others will serve as honorary co-chairs for the new fundraising group. Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence’s former chief of staff, former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Georgia GOP chair Alec Poitevint and Republican fundraisers Jeff Miller and Jack Oliver will also serve as national co-chairs. Politico first reported the positions for the group.

Perdue and Loeffler failed to reach 50% in their elections against Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, triggering runoff elections on January 5 that will determine the future control of the Senate. Republicans currently hold 53 seats, but lost two in Arizona and Colorado and picked up one in Alabama. If Democrats win both Georgia Senate seats, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will break tie votes in the Senate.

    Both parties are ramping up their operations in the Peach State. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has announced that it would spend millions to register Georgians and get them to vote, including organizers, direct mail, phone, text messaging and digital efforts. The state’s registration deadline — December 7 — is in less than a month, and Georgia will start to send out absentee ballots this week.

    The NRSC, along with the Loeffler and Perdue campaigns, have already raised $32 million, according to NRSC spokesman Jesse Hunt, part of which came from the Georgia Battleground Fund. Republicans plan to use that money to build a massive field operation in the state.

      Total ad spending in the runoffs, including all four campaigns and some initial outside spending, is already over $55 million, according to Kantar’s Campaign Media Analysis Group.

      “The money is going to pour in,” said Eric Tanenblatt, who served as chief of staff to former Republican Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue. “This is probably going to be the biggest economic development activity we’re going to have this year. It’s like a political Super Bowl.”

      CNN’s David Wright contributed to this report.