In the Georgia U.S. Senate race — with control of the chamber — in the balance, incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democratic challenger Raphael Warnock are elevating attacks on one another after thinning out a general election field of 20 candidates, including prominent GOP Rep. Doug Collins.
Loeffler and Warnock are headed for a runoff election in January, and the rhetoric is only heating up. Loeffler’s campaign slammed Warnock earlier this week with an attack ad accusing him of sympathizing with Marxists and socialists and has tried to brand him as “the most radical and dangerous candidate in America.”
Warnock denied those claims in an interview with MSNBC on Thursday. Then, the Washington Free Beacon shared a resurfaced video of him delivering a 2009 sermon in which he said he was “sick and tired” of critics who attacked socialism rather than engaging in substantive debates.
“This is another absurd attack from Kelly Loeffler, who has nothing good to say about herself and who stands with White supremacists and QAnon conspiracy theorists,” Warnock’s campaign told Fox News on Friday.
That line of attack likely refers to Loeffler’s endorsement last month from Marjorie Taylor Greene, a controversial Republican who won her own House race.
She told Fox News in August that she no longer supports QAnon, a far-right conspiracy theory centered on the claim that President Trump is secretly fighting enemies in the “deep state” and a child sex trafficking ring run by satanic pedophiles and cannibals.
Warnock’s campaign said the 2009 speech was about health care amid the H1N1 pandemic that was ongoing at the time. In it, Warnock knocked attacks on socialism.
“We don’t ask people to buy their own police protection, their own fire protection,” he said. “We decided long ago that we ought to pool our resources and pick up everybody’s garbage so that free enterprise can take place.”
He singled out attacks on “socialistic medicine” and said when a vaccine comes out, both the rich and poor would line up to get it.
“This sermon focused on the need for health care coverage, which Reverend Warnock said then is a human right, and something Kelly Loeffler has attacked throughout her short time in the Senate, where she’s looked out only for herself,” the spokesperson added.
On Wednesday, Loeffler’s campaign demanded answers from Warnock over past charges that he interfered with the investigation into a child abuse case at a Baltimore church summer camp in 2002 – even though prosecutors later said those charges stemmed from “some miscommunication” and were dropped.
Another decades-old detail also reemerged surrounding Warnock earlier this week: Before working at the Baltimore church, he worked at one in New York City that hosted and celebrated the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
His campaign said he was a junior staff member at the time and played no role in the visit from Castro during his 1995 trip to New York City to address the United Nations.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.