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Gov. Kemp to miss rally with Trump as family mourns loss of friend, Loeffler staffer

Kemp offered words of kindness to the family of 20-year-old Harrison Deal, whom he described as the "son and brother" they never had.

ATLANTA — A gathering of high-profile Republicans set for Saturday evening in south Georgia will be without one key figure on Saturday night following a recent tragedy.

Governor Brian Kemp's office confirmed to 11Alive earlier in the day that he would not be attending a rally for Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in Valdosta following the death of one of Loeffler's own staffers. 

In a statement, Kemp shared just how close 20-year-old Harrison Deal was to their own family.

"He was a person of deep faith, unmatched integrity and incredible kindness," Kemp wrote. "Harrison was the Kemp son and brother we never had."

The governor also offered his prayers for the Deal family from his own. His office added that the president offered his condolences in a Saturday morning phone call. 

Vice President Mike Pence said during a Thursday rally that Deal had died in an accident while on his way back to Atlanta. 

WSAV later reported that the accident happened on I-16 and involved two other vehicles near Pooler Parkway just before a campaign rally at Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport.

Loeffler, who did not attend that rally due to the sudden tragedy, also offered condolences to the family on Friday afternoon.

"My heart aches for his family, and Jeff and I will continue to surround them in love and prayer in the days ahead," she wrote in a tweet. "Harrison was a beloved member of our campaign team."