Kamala Harris to return to Georgia on Sunday, Collins is bringing Roger Stone

On the trail in Georgia
Democratic Vice President nominee Kamala Harris speaks during drive-in rally in the parking lot at Ray Charles Performing Arts Center on the Morehouse campus in the College Town at Wes End community of Atlanta on October 23, 2020. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

Credit: TNS

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Democratic Vice President nominee Kamala Harris speaks during drive-in rally in the parking lot at Ray Charles Performing Arts Center on the Morehouse campus in the College Town at Wes End community of Atlanta on October 23, 2020. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris is returning to Georgia on Sunday to rally voters as the campaign intensifies efforts to flip a state that hasn’t voted Democratic in a White House race since 1992.

The campaign announced the visit Friday, though no additional details were available. The California senator’s visit is only the latest indication that Georgia has become one of the most competitive battlegrounds in the race between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden.

As word of Harris' return reverberated in Democratic circles, Trump’s campaign confirmed he would hold a Sunday evening rally in Rome aimed at energizing conservatives.

Biden trekked to Georgia on Tuesday in a late attempt to score a blowout victory against Trump, whose path to a second term would narrow considerably if he loses the state’s 16 electoral votes. And Harris held events in Atlanta on Oct. 23, targeting her message to Black voters.

During a string of events across the city, Harris assailed Trump’s handling of a coronavirus pandemic that’s killed more than 225,000 Americans and has disproportionately affected Black voters.

“The people of Georgia deserve to have a president who sees them, who cares about them,” she said. “Georgia has been so hard hit by the pandemic.”

Polls show a deadlocked race in Georgia, and the tight dynamics have already forced Trump to visit the state three other times since July. In 2016, by contrast, he carried the state by 5 percentage points without a single stop in Georgia during the closing stretch of the race.

WSB poll: Trump, Biden tied; Perdue deadlocked with Ossoff

President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden are deadlocked in the latest Channel 2 Action News poll of a race for president that’s headed toward a busy finish in Georgia.

The poll, conducted by Landmark Communications, pegs Trump at 48% of the vote and Biden at 47% -- within the margin of error of 3.6 percentage points. An additional 2.5% back Libertarian Jo Jorgensen, and 2.5% are undecided.

The poll of 750 likely voters also has U.S. Sen. David Perdue, once a heavy favorite for reelection, knotted up with Democrat Jon Ossoff. Both logged about 47% of the vote. Libertarian Shane Hazel is polling at 3%, with another 3% undecided.

In the wild 21-candidate special election, U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler is neck and neck with her top Republican challenger, U.S. Rep. Doug Collins. The poll pegs Loeffler at 25% and Collins at 23% -- a statistical tie.

Democratic front-runner Raphael Warnock leads the field with about 37% support, while Matt Lieberman registered 9%. Other candidates are in the low single digits, while 3% of Georgians are still undecided.

Collins' closer

GAINESVILLE — U.S. Rep. Doug Collins is bringing in his own closer as Election Day looms, with Roger Stone, President Donald Trump’s longtime political confidant, set to campaign with the U.S. Senate candidate on Monday in Gwinnett County.

Stone was sentenced to more than three years in prison in February after he was convicted of lying to Congress and witness tampering during the House investigation into possible collusion between Russia and members of the 2016 Trump presidential campaign.

Stone always maintained his innocence, and in July, the president commuted his sentence, calling Stone “a victim of the Russia hoax.”

In a video announcing the visit, Stone called Collins “a solid conservative who will stand up to the deep state.”

Stone is one of several Trump associates involved in the 2016 campaign and subsequent Russia investigation whom Collins has brought to Georgia to campaign with him, including Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. For Fox News aficionados, Judge Jeanine Pirro has also come out in support of Collins.

As Collins and U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler have battled each other for conservative support in the special Senate election, Collins has leaned heavily on his role as the lead Republican defending the president during the House impeachment trial last year.

He has dubbed his campaign tour “the Trump Defender Tour,” and he speaks frequently on the stump about his role leading Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee.

Haley’s arrival

FLOWERY BRANCH — U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler had her own defenders with her Friday at Curt’s Restaurant in Hall County, including Nikki Haley, the former ambassador to the United Nations and onetime governor of South Carolina.

Haley told the group of about 100 Loeffler supporters about her own experience making an appointment to the Senate as governor in the same way Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Loeffler to the chamber in December.

She said her goal then was to choose someone who would not let down South Carolina. In the end, she named Tim Scott to the seat, who has gone on to become one of South Carolina’s most popular elected officials.

“Georgia, she will not let you down," Haley said of Loeffler.

Even though Haley was campaigning for Loeffler, she sounded more than a little like a potential presidential candidate as she detailed her time as governor and, later, as U.N. ambassador.

“On our worst day, we are blessed to live in America,” Haley said. “We have to fight for her, and we have to protect her.”

Later, at a stop in Monroe, both she and Loeffler downplayed Trump’s struggles in Georgia — which have required him to make a last-ditch campaign stop in Rome on Sunday.

“It’s a sign that the president doesn’t take anything for granted, and he values every single state,” Haley said.

Added Loeffler: “No one’s going to outwork President Trump. Not just in this campaign, but outwork him in serving this country.”

King’s stand

A handful of supporters of long-shot Republican congressional candidate Angela Stanton-King gathered on the steps of Atlanta City Hall to talk up an issue that Democrats have long embraced: legalization of marijuana.

They huddled against the whipping wind as Stanton-King, who is running for U.S. Rep. John Lewis’ heavily Democratic seat based in Atlanta, talked of overhauling state and federal laws and releasing those convicted of older drug violations.

“I myself spent some time in prison, so I know the type of trajectory that a criminal offense can put on someone’s life,” she said. “And I do believe that it is important for us to fight just as hard to reunite some of our families on the border as we fight to reunite those at the border.”

Democratic Party of Georgia Chairwoman Nikema Williams is the front-runner in the race. Stanton-King has tried to establish herself as an alternative for voters who feel former Vice President Joe Biden has not done enough for Black people.

“It’s OK to be a Black Republican,” Stanton-King said. “It’s OK to stand by your morals and your values and your beliefs.”

Williams’ vote

Nikema William stopped by State Farm Arena on Friday, the final day of early voting, marking her ballot for herself in the 5th Congressional District race and a slate of other Democrats.

Williams, who was joined by her husband and 5-year-old son, said she was encouraged to see that the lines were short and moving quickly. But she said she worried that other issues, including widespread power outages across metro Atlanta after Tropical Storm Zeta passed through the region, could affect participation.

Williams, who is pulling double duty as chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Georgia, said she still feels confident that Georgia can flip blue this year. And she said that has translated to interest from the top of the ticket with former Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Georgia on Tuesday and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris announcing a follow-up visit on Sunday.

“This much attention would not be shown right here in Georgia,” she said, “if we were not a battleground state.”