The Senator of the Republic of Georgia, Kelly Loeffler, who is expected to run against the Democratic Reverend Raphael Warnock in a run-off election in January, has called Warnock “radical” in a political advertisement published on Thursday.
Loeffler was appointed by Georgian Governor Brian Kemp to fill the seat vacated by the resignation of Georgian Senator Johnny Isakson, who had left the Senate for health reasons. In November, Loeffler defeated his Republican counterpart Doug Collins to fight Warnock for the seat.
Warnock, who serves as pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, challenges Loeffler in his first candidacy for public office. Loeffler’s campaign has accused Warnock of anti-Semitism and adherence to radical beliefs.
In a Thursday tweet, Loeffler called Warnock “the most radical candidate in America. The post was accompanied by a video allegedly showing Warnock expressing support for Chicago Pastor Jeremiah Wright.
Wright became a controversial figure after a sermon he delivered in 2003. On the footage of the sermon, Wright seemed to express anti-American feelings. Former President Barack Obama had visited Wright’s church and performed the wedding ceremony between Barack and Michelle Obama.
@ReverendWarnock talks about pizza and puppies to distract from his extreme record and dangerous agenda.
He praised Jeremiah Wright’s âGod D*** Americaâ speech. He even called Wright a âprophetâ.
He is the most radical candidate in America. #gapol #gases pic.twitter.com/Q0ljI6Dklx
– Kelly Loeffler (@KLoeffler) November 13, 2020
Loeffler’s campaign video shows an excerpt from Wright’s sermon in which he is heard to say, “Not God bless America, [but]God damn America.
A television excerpt from Warnock follows. In it he claims that Wright “is doing what he should be doing. He is a preacher and a prophet.” Loeffler’s clip ends by declaring Warnock a “radical.
Washington Newsday turned to the Democratic Party of Georgia for comment.
In a Thursday interview with MSNBC, Warnock denied Loeffler’s claims. “I know Reverend Wright,” said Warnock. “I am not an anti-Semite,” said Warnock. I’ve never defended anyone’s anti-Semitic comments, and Kelly Loeffler knows better.”
Warnock accused Loeffler of using advertising to distract from the Republican Party’s attempts to overturn the Affordable Care Act.
“If [Loeffler] wants to know what I think,” said Warnock, “she can find me in the Scriptures. Love your neighbor as yourself. And for me, in practical terms, that means not getting rid of health care in the middle of a pandemic”.
During a press conference on Thursday, Warnock criticized Loeffler for having enlisted the support of U.S. Representative designate Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia in October. Greene gained some fame through a video in which she advocated QAnon conspiracy theories. In November, Loeffler and Greene performed together at a rally in Smyrna, Georgia.
Warnock told reporters that Loeffler “accepts the support of a candidate who has been working on the QAnon conspiracy theory, which is steeped in hate and bigotry. This is shameful”.
A November survey by the Remington Research Group shows that the race between Warnock and Loeffler could be a close race. Loeffler had 49 percent of the vote, while Warnock was only one percentage point behind with 48 percent of the vote.
The survey was conducted between November 8 and 9 from a pool of 1,450 people who are likely to participate in the runoff election. The error margin of the survey is plus or minus 2.6 percent.