Georgia Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler released a campaign ad that immediately led to a sharp series of rebukes, criticism and outright mockery online early Saturday evening.
“Don’t believe the liberal lies,” the narrator begins–accompanied by a folksy guitar-based track featuring bright and major chords. “A bi-partisan Senate committee of Democrats and Republicans ‘cleared Kelly Loeffler.’ She did nothing wrong. She puts Georgia first.”
The Peach State Republican shared the video by paraphrasing the gist of it: “Don’t fall for the radical left’s lies. I’ve been TOTALLY exonerated — and I’m staying focused on results for all of Georgia.”
— Kelly Loeffler (@KLoeffler) November 21, 2020
“Always a good campaign ad when you have to TOTALLY convince people you didn’t commit felonies,” author Dan Arel tweeted.
Loeffler is currently locked in a razor-tight re-election runoff campaign with Democrat Rev. Raphael Warnock. The incumbent senator is still facing criticism and questions over her role in an alleged insider trading scheme from earlier this year.
Recall: in April, Loeffler and three other U.S. senators, including Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), were implicated in the scandal after a series of suspiciously-timed stock transactions. Those transactions occurred in the days immediately after they attended in early January a private Senate coronavirus briefing. Some of Loeffler’s trades were even made on the same day of that briefing.
All of the senators involved denied wrongdoing. The Senate Ethics Committee, currently controlled by the Republican Party, dismissed its own internal probe into the matter in mid July.
Still, the issue has plagued Loeffler as she and Warnock battle it out amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Current polling suggests the race is effectively tied–reflecting the sea change that occurred in Georgia politics as the once reliably red state was just barely, but decisively, won by a Democrat for the first time since 1992.
The race, at least on Georgia television screens, has been dominated by attack ads so far. Warnock, for his part, has aired an advertisement which claims the wealthy Republican incumbent “immediately” began “dumping stocks” following that “confidential briefing on the threat of the coronavirus.”
“As Kelly Loeffler downplays the threat publicly, she makes sell after sell, getting rid of $3.1 million before the market crashes,” the narrator says while ominous music pushes the message home.
Loeffler’s own ad–disputing the insider trading criticisms leveled against her–is likely to be seen as an indication that the Democratic Party’s focus on her stock transactions are taking a toll on her standing with voters in the fast-changing southern state.
“Rich Republican Senator can’t shake the stink of self-dealing,” noted progressive political strategist Adriel Hampton, tidily summing up the incumbent’s response to the controversy.
Other commentators were less reserved.
“It’s so unfair that JUST because: she sold millions in stocks immediately after a private briefing on COVID; her husband’s company runs the New York Stock Exchange; she’s the richest member of Congress, [Sen. Loeffler] has to make an ad to try to convince voters that she isn’t corrupt.” Sophie Ellman-Golan, director of Jews Against White Nationalism said via Twitter.
[image via screengrab/Georgians for Kelly Loeffler/Twitter]
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