Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler and U.S. Rep. Doug Collins are among the first politicians to support a conservative group’s pledge to “oppose any bill, resolution or movement to ‘defund the police.’”
The Washington-based Heritage Action for America group said Kemp was the first governor to sign the pledge and Loeffler, one of his top allies, is the first U.S. senator to back it. Congressional candidates Karen Handel and Rich McCormick have also added their names.
Loeffler has emphasized her pro-law enforcement stance as she faces a formidable challenge from Collins, a fellow Republican, in a November special election. She’s frequently criticized the “Black Lives Matter” movement and blamed “defund” efforts for violence.
A four-term congressman, Collins has rallied with law enforcement officers and slammed an Atlanta prosecutor for the “egregious” decision of charging two officers in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks.
And Kemp has clashed with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms over her handling of protests over racial justice, and recently released a video asserting “Georgia backs the blue” after a sick-out protest by some Atlanta police officers.
Their stances echo a Republican strategy in Georgia of trying to tie their opponents to the push to rethink policing. Some supporters want to shift money to other areas of need, others want to abolish police departments entirely.
No prominent Georgia Democratic candidates in the state’s highest profile races support the latter option.
Raphael Warnock, an establishment-backed Democrat challenging Loeffler, said he opposes defunding the police but supports a method to “responsibly fund law enforcement.”
And Jon Ossoff, the nominee to face U.S. Sen. David Perdue, said he shares Joe Biden’s stance of linking federal funds of law enforcement agencies to certain standards, including whether they can “demonstrate they can protect the community.”
Read the pledge:
A lawful society—free from mob rule and violent insurrection—is not possible without Law Enforcement. Police officers have chosen a noble profession. They dedicate their lives to upholding the law and protecting the sacred rights of their fellow citizens. As a profession, they deserve support and respect.
I stand with America's Police and pledge to oppose any bill, resolution, or movement to “Defund the Police."