U.S. Rep. Doug Collins hasn’t shied away from his long friendship with Democrat Stacey Abrams. Now their warm relationship is at the center of U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s latest attack ad.
The Republican, a wealthy former financial executive self-financing her bid for office, launched the ad Thursday as part of a $15 million volley of ads her campaign has so far spent or reserved on airtime this cycle.
The ad opens with an image of Collins chatting with Abrams, the 2018 gubernatorial nominee vilified by some conservatives, and asserts the two worked together to “raise taxes.” It later flashes a photo of the two smiling politicians, who served together in the state Legislature, outside the Georgia House chamber.
Among the proposals it highlights is Collins’ vote on the Transportation Investment Act of 2010, an initiative backed by Republican leaders and business boosters that paved the way for regional referendums of a 1 percent sales tax to finance infrastructure projects and road improvements.
“Typical politician Doug Collins: He only plays a politician on TV,” says the ad, which closes by asserting that Loeffler, who took office in January after she was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp, has “never voted for a tax increase and never will.”
Loeffler’s critics said her remarks smacked of hypocrisy. In 2012, she and other sports executives were quoted supporting the metro Atlanta referendum as a much-needed economic development tool.
“There is no other option for creating jobs in this way right now,” said Loeffler, co-owner of a WNBA franchise, according to the Henry Herald story.
Loeffler and Collins are engaged in a bitter scramble for Republican supporters for the November race, a jumbled 21-candidate special election with no party primaries to filter out nominees. A January runoff between the two top vote-getters is expected.
It drew a rebuke from Abrams, whose spokesman Seth Bringman said the “nasty food fight between Collins and Loeffler about which one of them is besties with Leader Abrams isn’t surprising given that neither of the Republican candidates is focused on helping Georgians recover from COVID-19 and an economy in free fall.”
Abrams, who has endorsed Democrat Raphael Warnock, is a constant presence in the Republican back-and-forth. Earlier this week, Loeffler’s campaign highlighted reports that Abrams helped the WNBA player’s union come up with the show of defiance against her campaign for Senate.
That led to a stinging response from Collins, who is always eager to remind audiences that Abrams and Loeffler also have longstanding ties.
“Gee, Kelly, when was the last time Stacey Abrams was this involved with the @WNBA?” read the retort on social media, which included a photo of Loeffler and Abrams together on the Atlanta Dream’s court in 2018.