The November contest features all candidates on the same ballot and a likely January runoff between the two top vote-getters. Some party leaders fear a split Democratic vote could pave the way for an all GOP runoff between Loeffler and U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, who are both polling ahead of Lieberman and Warnock in a recent survey.
Lieberman’s 213-page novel features an elderly white man who regularly uses racist epithets and has delusions that he owns a slave named Lucius. That character, Benno, asserts that Black people have mystical connections to animals and plants.
In his new role as a U.S. Senate candidate, the Rev. Raphael Warnock will have to steer clear of overt politicking from the pulpit of Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he is the senior pastor. Otherwise, it could threaten the church’s tax-exempt status. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
In a statement, Lieberman said he wrote the novel in response to the white supremacist neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville in 2017 and framed it as a “clear-eyed and honest look at racism in America.”
“The fact that I published this book has been known since I began this campaign last year, so an attack surfacing only now is testament to the strength of my candidacy today,” he said.
Former federal prosecutor Ed Tarver, another Democrat in the race, said the book was “shocking” and that Lieberman should apologize to Black voters and withdraw from the contest.
And James Woodall, the president of the state NAACP chapter, said the “racist tropes” about slaves and society rooted in the book were deeply troubling.
“I know there were good intentions in writing this book, but it doesn’t undo the real damage these kinds of narratives create,” Woodall told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Get out of the race. We don’t need that kind of division or distraction in a time where our democracy is literally on the line.”
Lieberman said he’s not going anywhere.
“I’m not going to be distracted from seeking the support of Georgians,” he said, “nor deterred from fighting against racism and for a more just society.”