Republicans rally in Gwinnett; Biden endorses U.S. Senate candidates

Rich McCormick addresses a crowd of Gwinnett County Republicans at a rally Monday. The headliner at the event was former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Rich McCormick addresses a crowd of Gwinnett County Republicans at a rally Monday. The headliner at the event was former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

ON THE GEORGIA TRAIL

Over the weekend, Georgia Democrats staged a large-scale rally in Gwinnett County. On Monday, it was the Republicans' turn.

At a crowded Duluth restaurant, candidates and party figures took turns urging voters to cast their ballots early and defend Republican-held seats in Congress and the Legislature that Democrats are threatening to flip.

Rich McCormick, the Republican nominee for a Gwinnett-based U.S. House district, urged Republicans to “redefine the party” and make it more welcoming for immigrants and minorities.

And Bonnie Perdue, the wife of U.S. Sen. David Perdue, told the group his work cutting taxes, reducing regulation and pushing for funding to finish deepening the Port of Savannah earned him a second term.

“We’re going to need every vote that we can (get),” she said. “David is fighting for us, and I so appreciate you fighting for him.”

The headliner was Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the former White House press secretary and veteran Republican strategist, who called it the “most consequential election in our lifetime.”

“America is the greatest country in the world, and let’s keep it that way," she said. "Let’s make sure David Perdue gets another term.”

In an interview, Sanders drew a line between President Donald Trump and Perdue, a former Fortune 500 chief executive.

“They’ve done something in their lives. They’ve proven they have the ability to create jobs, to grow a company, hire people,” she said. “They’ve actually signed the front of a paycheck, which to me is very telling. Those are the types of people you want making decisions.”

Gwinnett is one of Georgia’s most fascinating battlegrounds. Long a Republican stronghold, Hillary Clinton captured the suburban county in 2016 and Stacey Abrams expanded on those gains in 2018. But Republicans are looking to reclaim their foothold — and defend a U.S. House seat that’s up for grabs.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden announced endorsements Monday of Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, Democrats running in Georgia's two U.S. Senate races. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden announced endorsements Monday of Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, Democrats running in Georgia's two U.S. Senate races. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

Biden weighs in

White House hopeful Joe Biden endorsed Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, two Democrats in close races to flip Republican-held U.S. Senate seats.

The endorsements came a day ahead of Biden’s visit to Georgia — his first trip to the state since clinching the nomination.

He’s the latest Democratic figure to side with Warnock over other Democratic rivals in the 21-candidate special election for U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s seat.

Meanwhile, his wife returned to Georgia on Monday to campaign in Savannah and Macon.

At the latter stop, Jill Biden said of her husband: “Joe could not be more different than the man who holds that office right now.”

Ossoff fires back

While Jon Ossoff headed to Athens on Monday to rally young voters, the conservative Project Veritas outlet had just posted an undercover video that targeted some of his staffers.

Led by James O’Keefe, Project Veritas has built a reputation for sting operations using clandestine techniques, such as hidden cameras and microphones, aimed mostly at infiltrating Democratic campaigns, left-leaning groups, and news media and social media organizations, The New York Times reports.

On Monday, O’Keefe released a video of a junior Ossoff staffer discussing the candidate’s strategy and saying that he may be shading his positions to win over voters.

“On the surface, he tries to portray himself as left of moderate, so that all the Georgians, not us Georgians, but all the rednecks ... will be like, ‘Oh, he’s kind of cool," the staffer said.

In an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Ossoff disavowed and condemned that rhetoric.

“It has no place in politics and it’s offensive,” he said.

But he also hit out at O’Keefe and Project Veritas.

“These sorts of underhanded, deceitful efforts to trap young phone bankers in ‘gotcha’ moments, it’s just so beneath what’s needed at this moment of crisis in our politics,” Ossoff said.

More Mao at Collins rally

An hour before Ossoff spoke in Athens, U.S. Rep. Doug Collins was drumming up student votes a few blocks away on the University of Georgia campus at a rally with the conservative group Turning Point USA. Collins joined Ag Commissioner Gary Black and former Senate candidate Wayne Johnson to rev up young voters.

The rally included lots of posters, including one featuring Mao Zedong. During a debate last week, Collins — who is campaigning hard against fellow Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler in Georgia’s special election for her seat — made a point to ask Loeffler whether “the $56,000 portrait of Chairman Mao hanging in your foyer, as was seen on social media,” was still in her Buckhead home.

Athens marked the first of 30 towns Collins plans to hit on his “Trump Defender” bus tour of the state between now and Election Day.

In Other News