The U.S. Senate runoff races in Georgia are getting personal — with new advertising and more opposition research.
Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s campaign claims it will “expose” Democratic opponent, the Rev. Raphael Warnock, as a “radical” socialist.
There’s been a string of opposition research dumps lately on Warnock’s past statements related to the controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his work at a church that hosted former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro in 1995. Most recently, researchers unearthed a 2016 speech in which Warnock said the country must “repent” for backing Donald Trump.
Loeffler delivered a shot across the bow Saturday that suggested more criticism of Warnock is coming.
“Sorry, @ReverendWarnock,” Loeffler tweeted. “We’ve only just begun to expose the truth about your radical record & dangerous agenda.”
Loeffler linked to a Washington Free Beacon article on a sermon Warnock delivered in 2009 in which he pushed back on attacks under the “socialism” label and seemed to compare socialized medicine to other government-provided services like police protection and trash collection.
The Free Beacon article also said that in 2016, Warnock asserted that Americans needed to “repent” for supporting then-candidate Trump and for indulging in a “worship of Whiteness.”
“If it is true that a man who has dominated the news and poisoned the discussion for months needs to repent, then it is doubly true that a nation that can produce such a man and make his vitriol go viral needs to repent,” Warnock reportedly said at the time. “No matter what happens next month, more than a third of the nation that would go along with this, is reason to be afraid. America needs to repent for its worship of Whiteness, on full display this season.”
A source close to Loeffler said Warnock’s past sermons, speeches, public appearances and writings have produced “an embarrassment of riches.”
The Rev. Raphael Warnock, left, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, is challenging Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler in a Jan. 5 runoff election. (Associated Press)
But the Warnock campaign said Loeffler’s attempts to launch a smear campaign against the senior pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church aren’t working and pointed to articles that called out the attacks.
“While Reverend Warnock continues to make this race about the issues important to Georgians and how he’ll work for them in the Senate, Kelly Loeffler launched her runoff campaign racing to the bottom,” Terrence Clark, a spokesman for Warnock, said in a statement. “It took no time for the media to call out these lowest of the low attacks as misleading, and we have no doubt Georgians will reach the same conclusion and reject this divisive form of politics in January.”
Warnock also has gone on offense with two new TV ads this week. One accuses “billionaire” Loeffler of looking out for herself during the pandemic by dumping stocks, while the other features the candidate talking about his priorities for affordable health care and a living wage.
“Kelly Loeffler may think that’s radical, I think it’s common sense,” Warnock says.
In addition to the Loeffler-Warnock race, a second Georgia runoff on Jan. 5 pits incumbent GOP Sen. David Perdue against Democrat Jon Ossoff.
If Democrats win both seats, they would deadlock the Senate, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris casting a deciding vote in any tie-vote situations. The races are expected to draw a huge influx of campaign cash and appearances by leaders of both parties.