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Atlanta Dream’s Loeffler not interested in Senate run

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Kelly LeofflerAtlanta Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler said Thursday she has no immediate interest in pursuing a Senate seat despite entreats from prominent conservatives to broaden the potential GOP field to replace Sen. Saxby Chambliss beyond an all-male congressional brawl.

Loeffler, who juggles co-ownership of the women’s basketball franchise and a senior communications role at commodities powerhouse Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), said the jump from political donor to frontline politician is “not something I have envisioned.”

“Our endeavors here at ICE, and my work with the Atlanta Dream is fairly consuming,” Loeffler told the Atlanta Business Chronicle by phone Thursday.

Interest in a Loeffler candidacy comes at a moment of tremendous volatility and growth for the Atlanta-based ICE: it brokered a deal just last month to acquire the venerable New York Stock Exchange for $8.2 billion.

“I’m fully engaged with my work at ICE, and I have very little bandwidth for other considerations right now,” she said. “My commitment to ICE and to what we are doing here is first and foremost.”

Still, Loeffler has steadily built a presence among Republican donors, contributing nearly $850,000 to Republican Hill committees, super pacs, and candidates in the last two years. (Those parsing her previous contributions for an indicator of her preference will notice she donated $5,000 to the campaign and affiliated political action committee of Rep. Phil Gingrey, who is expected to enter the Senate contest himself.)

And a review by the progressive Center for American Progress of Romney campaign bundlers rated Loeffler among the top 8 donors to whom the Republican candidate would have been “most beholden” in the event he won the White House.

That’s an investment on which Loeffler will see sizable returns, whenever she takes the plunge. But at 42 she says feels no rush to cash in.

“I’m 42,” she said. “I feel like I’m still early in my life.”

- James Richardson