Former Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) will not return for a full term as a U.S. Senator, AP projected Wednesday.
Loeffler, who ran against Democrat Raphael Warnock, lost her Senate seat in a special election Tuesday after serving for just over a year. She left the crypto warehousing company late in December 2019 to fill former Sen. Johnny Isakson’s seat after Isakson stepped down due to health concerns. Fellow Republican David Perdue likewise lost his seat after Democrat Jon Ossoff was projected to win later on Wednesday.
Both Democrats winning clear the way for President-elect Joe Biden to enact his agenda by creating a 50-50 split (with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris acting as tiebreaker) in the upper house.
Either Republican winning would have allowed Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to enjoy another two years running the Senate, where he could have controlled key confirmation votes for both Biden’s legislative agenda and Cabinet nominees, including Janet Yellen, Biden’s pick to run the Treasury Department.
Democrats controlling the Senate also mean the various committees overseeing the crypto space, such as the Senate Banking Committee, have new priorities for the next Congressional session.
Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman projected Ossoff to win the race late Tuesday. Democrats have controlled the House of Representatives since 2018.
Earlier Tuesday night, some crypto-powered prediction markets bet on both Democrats winning. Polymarket had predicted that Warnock will win since Dec. 31, and Ossoff to win since earlier this month. FTX similarly predicted Dems would win.
Loeffler ran Bakkt since its inception in mid-2018 through her appointment to Congress. However, the senator hasn’t so much as mentioned bitcoin or cryptocurrencies since taking office, despite being a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, which oversaw the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a key regulator in the crypto space (and the one that oversees Bakkt).
Loeffler was embroiled in controversy in early 2020 after the Daily Beast reported she and her husband, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) CEO Jeffrey Sprecher, sold between $1.3 million and $3.2 million in stock after she received a private Senate briefing on the potential spread of COVID-19 within the U.S.
An ICE statement at the time claimed financial advisoes to the two made those transactions independently.
Loeffler refused to concede early Wednesday morning, though the act of conceding is a tradition rather than a legal requirement. In doing so, she continues to follow President Donald Trump’s playbook. He president has similarly refused to concede losing November’s election, despite subsequently losing over 60 legal challenges to overturn several states’ election results.
UPDATE (Jan. 1, 2021, 21:30 UTC): Adds Democrat Jon Ossoff was projected to win on Wednesday.