Kelly Loeffler, a Wall Street Senator With a Hardscrabble Pitch

Her best friend from childhood, Shelley Marquis, said that, like many local children, she and Ms. Loeffler “walked beans” in the Loeffler fields, pulling out weeds with a hoe for extra money. And Ms. Loeffler worked as a weekend waitress, she said, “not because she had to, but because she’s motivated and driven.” For her Olympia High senior year “prophecy,” the future senator wrote: “Be on ‘L.A. Law’ or a partner in a financial firm.”

The next year, The Chicago Tribune interviewed her father, Don, who described himself as a “simple farmer” — albeit one, the newspaper noted, who owned 1,800 acres, ran a 10-truck, 15-employee transport business and served on a local bank board. The article, about a bumper crop that had farmers literally breaking into song, was headlined “Gold in the Fields.”

“This is reaping the fruits of our labors,” Don Loeffler told The Tribune. “And it doesn’t get much better than this.”

There was also help from American taxpayers. Since 1995, members of the family, including Ms. Loeffler’s father, who is now retired, and her brother Brian, who last year was named the county’s farmer of the year, have received $3.2 million in federal farm subsidies, according to data from the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit. (Nearly a quarter of that came from money Mr. Trump used to compensate farmers for his trade war with China.)

Of course, that makes the Loefflers no different from many other farmers. But it is noteworthy because the Club for Growth, an anti-tax group that backed Ms. Loeffler, ran an ad campaign criticizing her primary opponent, Mr. Collins, for supporting the farm bailout program. And Ms. Loeffler, as a senator, also opposed continuing the extra $600 unemployment payment given this year to workers who lost their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic, saying people needed to “get back to work and limit government dependency.”

After graduating from the University of Illinois in 1992, Ms. Loeffler took a job as a district account manager at Toyota in Los Angeles. Her starting salary was $28,500, she once told an interviewer, and she shared an apartment with roommates. It was at this point, she told The Times, that she was “living paycheck to paycheck to pay rent and utilities, car payments, insurance and living expenses.”