PACs conceal their stripes behind deceptive ads in Georgia’s Senate race

Some of the ads voters may be seeing in the Georgia Senate runoff are coming from political action committees that are concealing their affiliations with deceptive messages.

Take, for example, billboards popping up around the state urging Trump supporters not to vote for Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.

“Georgia Republicans won’t fight for Trump, DON’T fight for them,” the boards urge in big block letters alongside photos of Perdue and Loeffler.

The billboards are paid for by the Really American PAC, a liberal political action committee seeking to capitalize on anger and some confused messaging among Trump supporters regarding the Jan. 5 Senate runoff.

“When the enemy is angry, we’re winning,” claims a pitch for the billboards on the progressive fundraising platform ActBlue.

In a statement earlier this month, Really American Executive Director Justin Horwitz claimed a “shared interest” with disaffected Trump voters.

“If Trump supporters deliver Perdue and Loeffler a victory, they should be acutely aware that they will be delivering Trump and MAGA a serious political defeat,” he said. “The only people trying to conceal this are Loeffler, Perdue, and Mitch McConnell, who want to destroy President Trump but keep his supporters.”

The billboards drew an angry rebuke from the Georgia Republican Party for trying to deceive Trump voters. The PAC folded that condemnation back into its fundraising pitch for more billboards.

“When the enemy is angry, we’re winning,” the PAC claimed.

But Really American isn’t the only Super PAC sending out strange or confusing messages. Some voters recently started receiving a mailer from the conservative, business-oriented Club for Growth with a conspiratorial message that they were being watched.

“BE AWARE,” the mailer warns. “Researchers are studying turnout in your neighborhood.”

This mailer from the conservative Club For Growth warns voters that "researchers" are reviewing voting files.

Credit: Submitted

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Credit: Submitted

The mailer goes on to say the voting records of Georgians “may be accessed and studied following the election.”

A similar Club for Growth mailer tells voters “political scientists will be keeping a close eye on this election to see who turns out and who doesn’t.”

Avondale Estates resident Sean Denmark received one of the mailers, but he said he can’t tell if it is supposed to scare people into voting or not voting.

“It promotes paranoid thinking when it talks about people studying public records for your votes and contacting you,” he said. “I guess it could be interpreted as encouraging people to vote. It’s hard to be sure of the purpose, but it does seem to seed doubts about the privacy of our votes.”

According to the PAC, the mailers, a version of which were used prior to the general election in Arizona, attempt to use social pressure to get GOP voters to return to the polls.

Such peer-pressure techniques must be a trend. A voter in Marietta contacted The Atlanta Journal-Constitution after receiving a letter from the “Center for Civic Information” warning her against “blindly voting based on party alone” and grading her neighborhood on how often voters crossed party lines. The center promised to send an updated grade after the runoff vote.

The letter came with scant information about the center, but publicly available records show it to be a new company on the Virginia side of Washington, D.C., formed by an analyst for Democratic campaigns.

Other PACs are using more traditional methods to juice voter turnout, like appearances from celebrities.

Over the weekend, the newly formed Black Lives Matter PAC hosted several events aimed at getting Black voters to the polls.

A newly formed Black Lives Matter PAC hosted drive-in event at Savannah State University on Friday featuring entertainers Common and Keke Palmer, followed by a Saturday afternoon concert at Southlake Mall in Morrow with Palmer, Lil Yachty and Lil Duval.

Created in October, the BLM PAC was staked with a $150,000 contribution from the Service Employees International Union, which represents 2 million workers in health care, property services and government. The union advocates for a $15 minimum wage and expanded access to health insurance and childcare.

Remaining support came from smaller donations, earmarked for the PAC through fundraising platform ActBlue. Notable contributions include $2,500 from filmmaker Joss Whedon and $1,000 from actor Mark Ruffalo.

According to federal data, political committees have spent more than $333 million campaigning for or against Georgia’s four remaining Senate candidates. That does not include the millions spent by the candidates own committees.