Democratic super PAC to put millions behind new Georgia runoff ad as both parties turn focus to key contest
By Dan Merica, CNNUpdated: Sat, 12 Nov 2022 12:03:03 GMTSource: CNN A top Democratic super PAC will begin airing a new ad attacking Republican Herschel Walker's character on Saturday, as both parBy Dan Merica, CNN
Updated: Sat, 12 Nov 2022 12:03:03 GMT
A top Democratic super PAC will begin airing a new ad attacking Republican Herschel Walker's character on Saturday, as both parties turn their focus to a Georgia Senate runoff that may end up determining control of the Senate.
First provided to CNN, the ad, titled "Shown Us" from Georgia Honor -- a group tied to the Senate Majority PAC, the predominant Democratic super PAC focused on Senate control -- is backed by $4 million for one week of airtime, highlighting just how expensive and contentious the runoff between Walker and Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock will be.
Whether or not the outcome of the Georgia runoff will determine control of the Senate is yet to be known, given CNN has not projected winners in the Arizona and Nevada Senate races. But both Democratic and Republican organizations are prepared to pour money into the Georgia contest.
The Senate Leadership Fund super PAC and the National Republican Senatorial Committee have already announced plans to invest millions of dollars to turn out Walker voters ahead of the December 6 runoff.
CNN projected this week that the race between Walker and Warnock would go to a runoff after neither candidate was able to get more than 50% of the vote, extending what was already one of the most expensive Senate races in the country by a month. From Labor Day to Election Day on Tuesday, Democrats and Republicans spent over $151 million solely on ads, trailing only the Senate race in Pennsylvania.
The ad from Georgia Honor -- a group that spent over $30 million on ads in that period -- calls Walker a liar who has a "long record of violence toward women."
"Herschel Walker has shown us who he is," a narrator says in the spot. "Herschel Walker is unfit for office."
In a 2008 interview with CNN, Walker's ex-wife, Cindy Grossman, said that Walker had held a razor to her throat, and at one point, "he held [a] gun to my temple and said he was going to blow my brains out." Grossman did not respond to CNN's request for comment when CNN reported on the interview again in September 2021.
"Raphael Warnock and his allies are using the same old tired attacks that didn't work over the last few months," said Will Kiley, a spokesman for Walker's campaign. "His far left positions are out of step with the people of Georgia and it is time for change. Herschel Walker is the champion that the people of Georgia need."
Veronica Yoo, a spokesperson for Georgia Honor, said, "The choice facing Georgians on December 6th could not be clearer, and we fully intend to communicate in every way possible to voters that Walker is unfit and unprepared to serve them in the United States Senate."
Meanwhile, Senate Leadership Fund, the predominant Republican super PAC with ties to Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, is teaming up with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to help bankroll a get-out-the-vote operation to boost Walker, according to Jack Pandol, a spokesperson for the super PAC. The committee is dropping $2 million to bankroll the turnout operation that Kemp built for his own reelection.
The focus on getting out the vote highlights how Republicans are privately concerned that because Walker benefited from Kemp's political operation in the general election this week, the Senate candidate could struggle without the governor at the top of the ticket in December.
The NRSC has also opened a joint fundraising committee with the Walker campaign and the Georgia Republican Party, said committee spokesman Chris Hartline, and the group launched an ad this week that compared the Georgia Senate race to "a miniseries" and argued that Warnock "belongs in Hollywood, not Washington," noting some of the Democrat's more unique campaign ads.
"Warnock is a great actor," says a narrator, "he just doesn't act like your senator. Spending, taxes, energy, you name it, Warnock votes with Joe Biden 96% of the time, and that act is getting old."
34N22, another outside Republican group supporting Walker that worked on getting out the vote ahead of the general election, received a $500,000 donation from Sen. Rick Scott, the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, to continue its work.
"34N22 is fully prepared to finish the fight, get Herschel Walker across the goal line, and evict Raphael Warnock on December 6th," spokesperson Stephen Lawson said.
And, as CNN reported on Friday, with concerns around former President Donald Trump's possible involvement in the Georgia runoff, one Trump aide said an idea being considered is helping Walker financially with a generous check from MAGA Inc., the Trump super PAC that gave $16.4 million to candidates in the closing weeks of the 2022 cycle.
Democrats, too, are beginning to pour money into the state.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced on Thursday that they would spend $7 million in field organizing ahead of the runoff, a substantial investment aimed at expanding the number of voters Democrats contacted ahead of the general election.
"We know talking directly to voters through a strong, well-funded ground-game is critical to winning in Georgia, and we're wasting no time in kick-starting these programs in the runoff," said Sen. Gary Peters, chair of the Democratic committee.
Both Walker and Warnock have already fully pivoted to the runoff.
Walker spent Thursday campaigning with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
"We are in overtime. We got a runoff," Walker said at an event in Canton, Georgia. "I was built for this. God prepared me for this moment right here."
Warnock, during a speech to supporters in Atlanta, said, ""I came really to ask you one question: Are you ready to do this one more time," a nod to the successful runoff election he ran against Republican Kelly Loeffler in the 2020 cycle.
At that event, however, Warnock's speech highlighted how the already contentious race could get even more acrimonious.
"We have seen that Herschel Walker has a disturbing history, a pattern of violence against women, against his own family, and he refused to take responsibility for that and he refuses to even answer questions," Warnock said. "So, the question right now is this: Is that who we want representing Georgia? This is a job that requires honesty."