Republican Rich McCormick and Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux have each launched their first TV ads as they compete in a swing suburban Atlanta congressional race.
Outside groups, one backing each candidate, have also taken to the airwaves in hopes of boosting the chances of their preferred candidate in Georgia’s 7th District.
Each of the candidates' ads are 30 seconds long and biographical in nature. McCormick’s spot is narrated by his wife, Debra, who references his Morehouse College of Medicine degree, his career in the Marines and their blended family of seven children.
“Rich has a real passion to be the best at everything he does; that’s why I know he’ll succeed in Congress,” Debra McCormick says in the “Present" ad.
Bourdeaux’s “Step Up" spot recounts her role helping write the state budget after the Great Recession a decade ago. She said the experience prepares her for Washington today, where members of Congress are tackling the current economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I won’t give up, and I won’t back down,” she says. “I’ll be your advocate, invest in local businesses, fix health care, and fight for you.”
Bourdeaux’s campaign spent $410,000 to run the ad on broadcast and cable networks in the Atlanta market. The 7th District includes parts of Gwinnett and Forsyth counties.
McCormick’s campaign said it purchased roughly $350,000 in TV time. Conservative anti-tax organization Club for Growth is separately spending $1.1 million on a pro-McCormick ad.
That spot, titled “Different Choices,” highlights McCormick’s military service and medical career while describing Bourdeaux as a “career bureaucrat" and “political insider” who wrote state budgets that helped raise taxes. The ad doesn’t mention that Bourdeaux worked for the Georgia Senate controlled by Republicans.
“It’s rich that the opening attack ad from McCormick’s special interest backers highlights how Carolyn Bourdeaux worked with Republicans to balance Georgia’s budget during a crisis and got our economy back on track," campaign manager Shelbi Dantic said.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has a new ad launching today that is part of a previously announced $2.7 million in reserved TV time in the Atlanta market. (The money is being split between this race and defending U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath in the 6th District.)
In the spot, called “Doctor,” McCormick is accused of using his platform as a physician to downplay the pandemic. The ad references comments McCormick posted to Twitter on March 9 as COVID-19 was beginning to dominate media reports.
“Do not panic! The world is not coming to an end!” he wrote then. “In historical context this virus is no different than the other coronaviruses we have had in the past decade. Elderly, immune compromised people should take caution to not get sick. Just like they should everyday.”
McCormick’s team said Monday that the spot misconstrues his statements and fails to acknowledge that in those early days even high-ranking elected officials weren’t clear on how serious the outbreak was.
“Carolyn Bourdeaux is a lifelong bureaucrat that hasn’t treated a single person with coronavirus but wants to twist Dr. McCormick’s words and second-guess how he is saving lives,” campaign spokesman John Simpson said. "Spots like this are the reason Americans hate politics and the politicians that run negative ads.”
Tia Mitchell is the AJC’s Washington correspondent. In this role, she writes about Georgia’s congressional delegation, campaigns, elections and the impact that decisions made in D.C. have on residents of the Peach State.