Anti-Semitism Charges Shake Up David Perdue’s Re-Election Bid As Polls Tighten

Senator David Perdue’s (R-Ga.) Campaign is under fire after he posted a Facebook ad that included a photo of his opponent, Democrat Jon Ossoff, with an enlarged nose, an apparent alteration seen as an anti-Semitic trope.

The Republican senator’s campaign blamed the announcement on an outside vendor, noting that the candidate’s past opposes all forms of hatred, but comes at a dangerous time. Cook’s Political Report last week shifted the race to “change” as an alleged Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe Biden Obama, George Clooney to host virtual fundraiser for Biden on Tuesday Tlaib talks about why he has not yet endorsed Biden It is 1980 in reverse MORE intensifies his campaign in the state against President TrumpDonald John TrumpRead: Attorney General William Barr’s written testimony before the Barr House Judiciary Committee hoped to blame Democrats for efforts to ‘discredit him’ at the next hearing of 22 people facing federal charges in connection with the Portland protests. PLUS.

Ossoff, who is Jewish, attacked the ad and called it “one of the most classic anti-Semitic tropes in history.” Speaking to reporters at a virtual press conference Tuesday, Ossoff asked Perdue to donate the money raised through the announcement to organizations that “promote community healing and community unity.”

“At a time like this, when we need healing, when we need unity, for my opponent to bow to this kind of incredibly divisive, inappropriate offensive tactic, it’s really unsettling and it’s not about a sitting American senator,” said Ossoff, calling the ad “deeply regrettable and inappropriate and hurtful.”

John Burke, a spokesman for the Perdue campaign, said the senator had not seen the ad before it was published and that the alteration was “accidental,” an “unintended mistake” in the graphic design process. He noted that it had been removed from Facebook after the media outlet The Forward published an article about the digital ad.

The Forward quotes “three graphic design experts” who said Ossoff’s nose had been “lengthened and widened” in the photo used in the ad.

Ben Fry, campaign manager for Perdue, announced Tuesday that the campaign will change digital fundraising companies in light of the Facebook announcement.

“In light of an unfortunate and unnoticed mistake involving one of our Facebook ads produced and placed by a third-party provider, our campaign will make a switch to a new digital fundraising company,” Fry said in a statement. “Senator Perdue did not know or see the announcement before it was published, and is committed to ensuring that future errors of this kind do not occur.”

Burke pointed to the senator’s record of opposing and fighting religious discrimination and anti-Semitism, saying any effort to use the digital ad to claim otherwise is untrue.

Perdue co-sponsored a Senate resolution last year condemning anti-Semitism, as well as the 2019 Lynching Victims Justice Act, which defined lynching as bodily injury based on perceived race, color, religion, or nationality.

“Anyone who implies that this was more than an unintentional mistake is intentionally misrepresenting Senator Perdue’s solid and consistent record of being firmly against anti-Semitism and all forms of hatred,” Burke said.

The advertising controversy and allegations of anti-Semitism come amid a particularly difficult re-election campaign for Perdue.

Georgia has been a relatively safe haven for Republicans for decades. Voters in the state have not chosen a Democrat for the Senate in 20 years, and Trump easily won the state in 2016. But the changing demographics and a recent trend away from the Republican Party among suburban voters have made Georgia within reach. Democrats.

The party needs to win three or four seats in the Senate this year, depending on who gains control of the White House, to capture the majority on camera, and the Peach State is now seen as a critical part of its path to unified democratic control. in Washington.

Several recent state polls show Biden closely leading Trump, while Ossoff has begun closing his poll deficit against Perdue since he won the Democratic Senate nomination in a crowded primary field last month.

Perdue’s allies say they always expected a tight race this year, noting that even in 2014, when he won his first term, polls showed a close fight to the end against his Democratic opponent at the time, Michelle Nunn. He finally won that race by 8 points.

Still, 2020 may be a more difficult year for Republicans than 2014, when a Democrat was still in the White House and the Republican Party won nine seats in the Senate to finally win back a majority in the House.

With less than 100 days to go before Election Day, Trump’s poll numbers have some Republicans concerned that he might drag Republican Senate candidates with him.

Democrats attacked after the Facebook announcement was revealed, rejecting the Perdue campaign’s explanation and accusing it of refusing to take responsibility for leaning on what they said was a clear anti-Semitic trope.

“Senator Perdue’s first offense was publishing this disgusting announcement, and the second was refusing to take any responsibility and letting others take responsibility for his campaign,” said Helen Kalla, spokeswoman for the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.

Nikema Williams, the chairwoman of the Georgia Democratic Party, demanded that Perdue apologize to Ossoff and fire the campaign vendor behind the announcement.

“This anti-Semitic attack on Jon Ossoff from Senator Perdue’s blatant campaign has no place in our politics,” Williams said. “Now more than ever, we have to combat the ugly hatred that we have seen continue to raise our heads in this country.”

“Senator Perdue should immediately fire the salesperson for the campaign that made this announcement, apologize to Jon Ossoff, and take responsibility for injecting these kinds of hurtful stereotypes into this election.”

The ad also drew criticism from Jewish organizations, who said the ad recalls infamous and hurtful tropes and stereotypes at a time when hate crimes against the Jewish people are on the rise.

Dov Wilker, the regional director of the American Jewish Committee in Atlanta, said his organization was “shocked” by the announcement, noting that the altered photo and accompanying text that claimed “Democrats are trying to buy Georgia” played with “anti-semitic images”. “

“We call on the Senator to apologize and we would be happy to meet with him and his staff to discuss anti-Semitism as it continues to grow steadily at home and abroad,” Wilker said in an email.

Bend the Arc, a progressive Jewish organization, tweeted that Perdue’s announcement amounted to “blatant anti-Semitism.”

“It is not an accident,” the group wrote. “It is your platform.”

Some Republicans ran to Perdue’s defense Tuesday, arguing that he has been a constant ally of the Jewish community and has repeatedly condemned anti-Semitism.

“Time and time again, Senator David Perdue has proven to be a true friend of the Jewish community and has strongly opposed anti-Semitic intolerance,” said former Senator Norm Coleman (Republican of Minn.), President of the Jewish Republic. Coalition. “Since coming to the Senate, he has always condemned hatred.”