U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) missed a scheduled campaign rally this week after a staffer was killed in a car crash earlier the same day.
She tweeted about the death of field staffer Harrison Deal, a student at the University of Georgia who was set to graduate in 2022. He was just 20 years old.
“Surround them in love and prayer”
Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp also missed the same event on Friday, which was headed by Vice President Mike Pence ahead of a pair of Senate runoff races next month.
Sen. David Perdue, the other Republican seeking re-election in races that will determine the balance of power in the Senate, confirmed at the event that Deal had previously interned for him. Loeffler tweeted that it was “with an extremely heavy heart” that she mourned Deal’s death.
“My heart aches for his family, and Jeff and I will continue to surround them in love and prayer in the days ahead,” she continued. “Harrison was a beloved member of our campaign team.”
It was not immediately clear whether Deal was conducting campaign-related activities at the time of the fatal multi-vehicle collision.
Pence addressed the tragedy, calling Deal a “truly wonderful young man.”
“Son and brother we never had”
At the same rally, U.S. Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) prayed for Deal’s family and those who knew him, saying: Eternal God, we love you. … I pray for Sen. Loeffler’s staff. I pray for the family of the one that had been lost. I pray that you bring comfort and peace and understanding.”
In noting his own connection to the young GOP intern, Perdue issued a statement describing him and his wife as “devastated” to learn of Deal’s death.
“Harrison was a smart, kind young man with a bright future ahead of him, and he is gone too soon,” he added.
The governor tweeted his sympathy calling Deal the “Kemp son and brother we never had.”
Authorities indicate the fatal crash took place on Interstate 16 near Pooler at about 10 a.m. Friday, closing the interstate for several hours thereafter. All three fires involved reportedly caught on fire and others at the scene were also injured.