With new ad, Warnock tries to emerge as top Democrat in Loeffler race

The Rev. Raphael Warnock is considering a run for the U.S. Senate against Republican U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson. Warnock is the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. served as as pastor during the civil rights movement. KENT D. JOHNSON/KDJOHNSON@AJC.COM

Credit: KENT D. JOHNSON / AJC

Credit: KENT D. JOHNSON / AJC

Senate candidate Raphael Warnock released a second television ad Wednesday that focuses on his role as a counselor during times of tumult, the latest evidence of an intense push to frame himself as the Democratic front-runner in a jumbled race.

Speaking from the pews of a church, Warnock talks of advising parishioners during “devastating health crises, as they’ve lost jobs and livelihoods and, in recent months, loved ones to violence and disease that could have and should have been prevented.”

It’s his second ad of the campaign – and second in a week – as he tries to distance himself from fellow Democrat Matt Lieberman in a November special election that features 21 candidates on the same messy ballot.

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Each are racing to unseat U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, but recent polls show Warnock struggling to pull ahead of Lieberman despite key advantages: A well-financed campaign, support from party leaders in Atlanta and Washington and the platform of Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he is the senior pastor.

The close contest has raised the possibility that both Democrats could be shut out of a January runoff – some polls show Loeffler and Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Collins in the top two spots – though Warnock’s backers and senior Democrats expect his ad campaign to fuel a rise in the polls.

Lieberman, meanwhile, has made it clear he’s not dropping out of the race despite calls for him to quit. He released a volley of ads this week that features his family but makes no mention of his famous father, former vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman.

Watch Warnock’s ad:

Here’s the transcript:

As a pastor, part of my job is to be there for families through some of the toughest times in their lives.

I’ve counseled people through devastating health crises, as they’ve lost jobs and livelihoods and in recent months loved ones to violence and disease that could have and should have been prevented.

All too often these are people whom government has forgotten or for whom it was never there for in the first place.

I’m Raphael Warnock, and I’ll always work for you, that’s why I approve this message.

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