Loeffler and Greene rally conservatives; Ossoff takes to virtual trail


ROME — U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler is hoping the endorsement of a controversial congressional candidate pays dividends for her campaign in the closing days of the race.

The Republican stumped Saturday at the Floyd County Republican Party headquarters with Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has gained national attention for support of the baseless pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy and was expected to easily win a U.S. House seat even before her opponent dropped out.

Greene told the early-bird crowd of about 50 people that she was drawn to Loeffler, a fellow millionaire who also has made waves for taking far-right positions. Both women back anti-abortion restrictions, want to ban transgender women from competing in athletics and are outspoken critics of the Black Lives Matter movement.

There’s a strategic reason for touting Greene’s endorsement. Loeffler is competing with Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Collins for a second spot in an expected Jan. 5 runoff to keep her Senate seat, and Greene’s backing could help her mobilize more voters in northwest Georgia, an area so conservative that Trump’s campaign has picked it for a Sunday evening rally.

“Marjorie Taylor is a political outsider herself,” Loeffler said after the event. “She’s a businesswoman; she supports strong conservative values. That’s what I’m fighting for is to make sure that we stand up for the future of our country.”

A similar-sized crowd greeted the women at a second stop at J.D.'s on the Lake, a Canton restaurant that is one of the filming sites for the Netflix series “Ozark.”

Their biggest audience came later in the afternoon at Outdoor Adventures in Smyrna, where roughly 1,000 people attended a Loeffler rally focused on gun rights.

‘Unmute me, please?’

ATLANTA - The coronavirus pandemic has radically altered life on the campaign trail in 2020 — but for some more than others.

That campaign contrast played out Saturday, when Sen. David Perdue planned to hit six stops across Georgia during the day while Perdue’s challenger, Jon Ossoff, stuck to three get-out-the-vote events over Zoom.

Ossoff started off with the Democratic Party of Georgia and moved on to calls with a group of College Democrats and, later, the Georgia Association of Educators.

The first call kicked off with an only-on-Zoom wrinkle after Ossoff was introduced as “Our future senator, Jon Ossoff.” After several seconds of silence, a text showed up in the chat bar, “Can you unmute me, please?:-)”

Once unmuted, Ossoff thanked the volunteers, telling them that the calls they were about to make to Georgia voters could make the difference not just in his own toss-up race for Senate, but eventually, for control of the U.S. Senate as well.

“We’re not just living through history,” he said. “We’re making it."

Ossoff then moved on in the most 2020 way possible by making his own calls to voters and live-streaming his end of the conversations over Zoom.

“Hello, Brittany?” he said after he got through on his first call. Brittany wasn’t home, but Brittany’s mom said she’d pass on the message to make sure to vote on Tuesday.

Ossoff got Tiffany on the line next.

“Oh, you just saw our ad? Great. May I ask humbly for your vote on Tuesday?”

Ossoff will next campaign in-person Sunday, when Democratic vice presidential nominee, Kamala Harris, returns to Georgia.

Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) meets with Seventh U.S. Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, before a meeting at the Capitol Building in Washington D.C., on September 30, 2020. (Anna Moneymaker/Pool/Getty Images/TNS)

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Credit: TNS

‘Never quit DNA’

MONROE – U.S. Sen. David Perdue stepped into the Potluck Café to talk about his bid for a second term but he couldn’t help but hearken back to his campaign for a first.

It was here in the northeast Georgia town of Monroe, more than six years ago, where he made one of his first campaign appearances after announcing his bid for an open U.S. Senate seat.

And he told a crowd of dozens gathered in the diner of a sweltering GOP Fourth of July barbecue he attended in the early days of his campaign, when he was so unknown that Gov. Nathan Deal walked by him without even a second glance and polls had him at 3%.

“I’m pouting, and I’m not having a good time,” he said of that BBQ, before turning to his wife Bonnie. It was Bonnie, he said, who convinced him at that 2013 event not to lose heart.

He narrowly won the GOP nomination and months later defeated Democrat Michelle Nunn by 8 percentage points. Now, with polls showing a neck-and-neck race against Democrat Jon Ossoff, he’s leaning on memories of that underdog campaign to fuel him through the final push of this one.

“There are enough people out there in Georgia who believe like we do, and if they just vote, we win,” he said. “It’s just like ’18. It’s just like the miracle of ’16. Remember, Trump was down five points in the state, and he won by about 5 points. These polls, they’re really not accurate.”

He wasn’t the only Republican to dismiss the tight polls. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, the senator’s first-cousin and a former Georgia governo, invoked an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll a few days before his 2002 victory that showed him trailing badly.

“We know how that turned out,” said Perdue, who wound up serving two terms in Georgia’s top job, then nodded toward his cousin. “We share the same never quit DNA.”

Georgia State Representative Bee Nguyen speaks as protesters gather at the Richard B. Russell Federal Building in downtown Atlanta for March on Georgia, a protest hosted by the Georgia chapter for the NAACP, on Monday, June 15, 2020. (REBECCA WRIGHT FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION)

Credit: Rebecca Wright

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Credit: Rebecca Wright