We are only days out from the biggest U.S. Senate elections in perhaps 160 years, with President Donald Trump descending Monday.
I visited two Georgia Republican headquarters yesterday, and then attended Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s event in Newnan, about 35 miles southwest of Atlanta.
At her rally, the junior senator boasted of financial relief on the way and attacked Raphael Warnock as a radical. She also noted his anti-police rhetoric, extreme abortion views, criticism of our chief ally, and praise of tyrants and America haters.
“We are standing in the breach as the last line of defense. Just stay in the fight a little longer,” Loeffler said during 20 minutes of remarks to about 300 attendees. “We must hold Big Tech and China accountable. We can’t let Nancy Pelosi and Bernie Sanders play politics with our livelihoods.”
I spoke with a middle-aged gentleman before the rally.
“Warnock’s policies do not represent Georgia values,” he claimed. “I know it seems cliché, but he could destroy the American Dream. We need a senator who believes in good jobs, freedom, security and prosperity. If Warnock and Ossoff win, then Biden and China win. And we also need to avoid the corruption from last month and have a fair election.”
Loeffler, who debunked parts of a recent New York Times piece on her background, grew up on an Illinois farm and waitressed her way through college, becoming the first in her family to graduate. The 50-year-old spent decades building a successful business career and creating jobs. She is also strongly pro life and a Trump loyalist.
A campaign staffer told me after the event, “We need high turnout; if it’s high, I think we win.”
Earlier in the day, I stopped by the Floyd County GOP in Rome — a conservative-leaning city in northwest Georgia — where I chatted with three women. All were concerned with election integrity.
“I hope there’s no mail-in slip up,” Treasurer Pam Peters said. “If you don’t have poll watchers, you lack accountability. They are safeguards, and ballot counters should not be in intimated if they’re doing things by the book.”
In Marietta, the seat of suburban Cobb County, 20 miles from downtown Atlanta, about 400,000 people gave Joe Biden 56% of the vote last month.
“I don’t think you need to be conservative to worry about the direction we could go with single-party rule in the senate,” a young woman explained. “Independents and libertarians everywhere should be concerned that we Georgians are all that stand in the way.”
Seeking Warnock supporters, I ventured to Decatur, a trendy town a few miles east of Atlanta. Decatur sits along the border of DeKalb and Fulton Counties, an area where one million combined votes went about 80% for Biden and Jon Ossoff. I stumbled upon a hipster coffee shop.
“The runoffs are about health care and justice,” the tattooed proprietress said. “I’ve lived here my entire life and know change is not easy, but this is our moment; it is within our power to change this state and country.”
Moderate voters could be turned away by Warnock’s extremism, but left-leaning media are doing their best to push him along.
The Georgia native has been pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta the last 15 years. The son of Pentecostal pastors, he attended Morehouse College. Endorsed by Planned Parenthood, the 51-year-old also is anti-gun in a pro-gun state, especially outside Atlanta. Warnock, who refused to declare a position on court packing, has personal issues, courtesy of a recently-released video and tax shenanigans.
But Warnock is not shy about his radicalism. “I’m an activist,” he says. “For me, my preaching and my activism go hand in hand.”
You can watch my Tuesday night interview about this race here: