Georgia Senate: In TV attack, Loeffler targets Collins’ legal record

The bitter Republican back-and-forth between U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler and U.S. Rep. Doug Collins entered a new phase Friday as the incumbent launched a TV attack ad blasting her top GOP rival’s record as a criminal defense lawyer.

The 30-second spot seeks to frame Collins as an attorney who advertised to clients charged with sex crimes and other serious offenses and asserted that he “helped violent criminals and even gang members get out of jail – some struck again.”

It casts Loeffler, a former financial executive, as the “law and order conservative who is fighting the radical left” – another sign of how aggressively Georgia Republicans have embraced a pro-law enforcement message.

Collins’ campaign said three of the four defendants featured in the ad were represented by the congressman’s legal partner, and all were court-assigned indigent defense cases.

“Poor people in Kelly’s world of mansions and private jets do not deserve representation in court,” said Collins spokesman Dan McLagan. “Accusation equals conviction if your bank balance does not have enough zeros in it.”

Some recent polls show a tightening race between Loeffler and Collins, a four-term congressman who was a top defender of President Donald Trump during the impeachment trial.

She’s pumped $15 million of her own cash into her bid to serve the remaining two years on retired Sen. Johnny Isakson’s term, and reported on Wednesday that she had roughly $7 million in her account. She’s pledged to spend at least $5 million more.

Collins out-raised her this quarter, a rare fete for a Republican challenging a sitting U.S. Senator in his own party. He has about $2.6 million at his disposal for the November special election, a free-for-all featuring 21 candidates – and no party primaries to filter out nominees.

Loeffler’s ad flashes the faces of four defendants represented by the law firm where Collins once worked, under the caption: “Collins helped violent criminals and gang members get out of jail.”

According to the Loeffler campaign, two of the defendants were charged with gang-related activities in separate incidents in 2010 and 2011. A third faced drug trafficking and distribution charges in 2011, while the fourth was charged with aggravated assault.

The attack on Collins is a deviation from the other ads in a multimillion-dollar fleet that promote Loeffler’s support for Trump, tout her philanthropic efforts and deride the news media.

Still, it’s not the first time this campaign that Collins’ legal record has become a target. Several Republican groups aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who backs Loeffler, have attempted to portray Collins as weak on crime.

See the ad here.

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