Fatal Car Crash Shakes Georgia Republican Campaigns as Pence Visits

Harrison Deal, a family friend of Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who worked as an aide for Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler and an intern for Georgia Senator David Perdue, was killed in a multi-vehicle crash on Friday. Deal was 20 years old.

Deal, a junior at the University of Georgia in Athens, worked as a field staffer for Loeffler's campaign. Loeffler and Kemp were expected to appear at a Republican campaign event on Friday alongside Vice President Mike Pence. Loeffler and Kemp canceled their appearances after Deal's death.

"Harrison was a beloved member of our campaign team," Loeffler said in a Friday statement. "More importantly, Harrison was a smart, bright, loving, loyal and outstanding young man. Harrison embodied the very best of this campaign—and the very best of our state."

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp's family described Deal as "the Kemp son and brother we never had."

Loeffler's opponent in a special election in January, Reverend Raphael Warnock, tweeted his condolences.

"I pray for Harrison Deal, a young staffer for @KLoeffler's campaign, and for his family, friends, co-workers and all those mourning his loss, and I ask Georgians to join me in offering condolences to his loved ones," Warnock wrote.

I pray for Harrison Deal, a young staffer for @KLoeffler's campaign, and for his family, friends, co-workers and all those mourning his loss, and I ask Georgians to join me in offering condolences to his loved ones.

— Reverend Raphael Warnock (@ReverendWarnock) December 4, 2020

Allegations of fraud during Georgia's November elections have placed the state's special Senate elections under intense scrutiny. If Loeffler and fellow Republican Perdue lose the elections, Democrats may be able to gain control of the U.S. Senate. At Friday's rally, Vice President Pence assured Georgia Republicans that the polls would be "secure."

"We're on them this time," Pence told the event crowd. "We're watching. We're going to secure our polls. We're going to secure our drop boxes. So get an absentee ballot and vote and vote today."

harrison deal and brian kemp
Harrison Deal (left), shown here with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, was killed Friday in an automobile accident. Facebook

Warnock and Loeffler are expected to face off in contention for the Senate seat left vacant by the 2019 retirement of Senator Johnny Isakson. Loeffler's campaign has attempted to paint Warnock as pushing a "radical" agenda. In response, Warnock's campaign has alleged that Loeffler violated ethics laws by directing viewers of an interview held at the Capitol to a website where contributions could be made to her campaign.

Loeffler and Warnock are expected to engage in a televised political debate on Sunday. Newsweek reached out to Loeffler's office for comment.

Incumbent Republican Senator Perdue will face off against Democrat Jon Ossoff in January. The special election between Perdue and Ossoff was declared after neither candidate received more than 50 percent of the popular vote.

Perdue has declined to debate Ossoff in the days leading up to the runoff. In a November statement, Perdue's campaign manager Ben Fry said Perdue planned to "take our message about what's at stake if Democrats have total control of Congress directly to the people."