Stacey Abrams’ image is weaponized in Georgia Senate race

A couple of days ago, U.S. Rep. Doug Collins hit on a now-familiar attack on Sen. Kelly Loeffler: He warned that Democrats can win if Republicans are left with a "fake conservative" with a history supporting Stacey Abrams.

It was a reminder of Loeffler's 2018 appearance midcourt at a WNBA game with Abrams, who at that moment was Brian Kemp's archrival in the race for governor and a nemesis to Georgia Republicans.

But Collins, too, was once close with the Democrat. Pictures now floating around social media show Abrams and Collins at various stages of embrace, including when both served as state lawmakers and ahead of Abrams’ testimony in the U.S. House last year. Here’s one:

Stacey Abrams and Doug Collins in the Georgia House.

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And here’s another picture making the rounds from the June 2019 hearing:

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 25:  U.S. Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) greets former Democratic leader in the Georgia House of Representatives and founder and chair of Fair Fight Action Stacey Abrams prior to a hearing before the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee of House Judiciary Committee June 25, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The subcommittee held a hearing on "Continuing Challenges to the Voting Rights Act Since Shelby County v. Holder."  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Credit: Alex Wong

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Credit: Alex Wong

Collins and Abrams were familiar enough that Abrams named a character in one of her romance novels "Doug Collins." He was a young lawyer she described as lovable, if annoying, to the protagonist.

Asked for a comment, Collins spokesman Dan McLagan said timing is everything.

“Which [photo] has a Democratic gubernatorial candidate and campaign signs in it? There’s a picture of me and Hillary Clinton somewhere, but I didn’t throw a campaign event for her,” said McLagan, who worked for Clinton’s Republican Senate opponent in 2000.

The picture of Abrams he was invoking? This one:

Stacey Abrams and Kelly Loeffler at a 2018 event.

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Insider’s note: This item was ripped and expanded from The Jolt.