In the spot, Warnock walks his dog around a picket-fence-lined neighborhood while telling Georgians he knew the smears were coming. “That’s exactly what happened,” he says. “You would think that Kelly Loeffler might have something good to say about her herself if she really wants to represent Georgia. Instead, she’s trying to scare people by taking things I’ve said out of context from over 25 years of being a pastor.”
As Warnock approaches a garbage can with a tiny bag of his furry friend’s excrement, he says, “I think Georgians will see her ads for what they are.” Dropping the poo bag in the can, he looks at his puppy and asks, “Don’t you?” Cue adorable puppy barks.
Warnock, a charismatic pastor of the historic Atlanta congregation Martin Luther King Jr. once led, Ebenezer Baptist Church, has become the central focal point of the race, according to reporting in the Washington Post.
If elected, Warnock would become the first Black senator to represent the state. That fact along with his personal biography of rising up from public-housing in Savannah and his magnetism as a public speaker have made him an existential threat to Republicans.
The entire game in the two critical runoffs between Warnock and Loeffler and Democrat Jon Ossoff and GOP Sen. David Perdue will be a matter of turnout. And without the appeal of a high-profile presidential contest, both Democrats and Republicans need something truly enticing to turn out their voters once again just a couple months after their last trip to the polls.
That’s where Warnock really delivers—presenting an historic opportunity for the exact demographic of voters of color who were instrumental in flipping the state from red to blue for the first time since 1992. Warnock’s potential triumph is compelling stuff.
As former Georgia gubernatorial candidate and instrumental community organizer Stacey Abrams told the Post, Warnock “carries with him the hopes and aspirations of people who see someone who grew up with a life similar to theirs. … He is someone who speaks authentically to their worries and their concerns.”
Meanwhile, Loefller and Perdue, a fraternal twinsies package of corruption, offer little more to voters beyond the whiteness behind what is shaping up to be a supremely racist campaign. So far, the two have spent nearly every drop of their millions on “scathing attack ads” that portray the Democratic candidates as unpatriotic socialists.
One Loeffler ad shows a classroom of mostly white students reciting the Pledge of Allegiance as a narrator intones: “This is America. But will it still be if the radical left controls the Senate?”
Republicans have also seized on Warnock’s rhetorical support for Barack Obama’s former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and the clip of Wright’s fiery sermon assailing the nation’s racist roots and history of oppression. Another Loeffler ad specifically charged that Warnock “celebrated anti-American hatred.”
So at base, the race is shaping up to be a question of how many voters Democrats can turn out to cast a ballot for the hopeful evolution of our politics versus how many voters Republicans can deliver through retrograde bogeyman tactics.
The Georgia runoff is Jan. 5. Click here to request an absentee ballot. Early in-person voting starts Dec. 14. And REGISTER TO VOTE here by Dec. 7.