Groups supporting Georgia Republican Senate Nominee Herschel Walker hope voters aren’t paying attention to facts. Walker’s backers hope Black voters are easily swayed with gimmicks and one-off gifts. And while some Georgia democrats brought attention to the hypocrisy of Republican-led efforts to prohibit nonprofit groups from giving out water to voters standing in line, the pro-Walker action represents a bigger issue.
As reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the 34N22 super PAC took credit for the giveaway on social media, boasting of making Democrats angry. But It’s easy to hand out gas cards or vouchers for temporary relief. The hard part is actually pushing for real relief beyond a one-time fill-up. However, the donors who comprise the 34N22 super PAC aren’t worried about supporting results to improve communities, just optics and preventing Sen. Raphael Warnock from winning.
The pro-Walker super PAC isn’t fooling anyone
The giveaway also assumes Black voters are easily bought and stupid. It exposes the Republican hypocrisy around nonpartisan groups providing comfort to those standing in long lines without mentioning any candidate. Republican lawmakers and the secretary of state falsely accused nonpartisan groups of being partisan actors engaged in electioneering, which is exactly what 34N22 is doing.
ABC News reported in December 2021 that a spokesperson for the committee previously advised Loeffler, who lost to Warnock during the 2021 runoff. The committee is organized by Charles Gnatt, a known Republican operative in Massachusetts. The Center for Public Integrity lists Gnatt as the senior vice president for conservative political consulting firm Red Curve Solutions and part of the founding team behind America First Action.
Wealthy donors try to trick Black voters through super PAC
Digging deeper into who is providing the money for this effort beyond the smiling Black faces holding signs on the predominantly Black southside of Atlanta, FEC filings show a cabal of wealthy individuals, many from outside Georgia, working against Black voters.
According to FEC filings, there have been 31 donations made to the super PAC through the end of April 2022. The filing for the current period is not available. The largest donation from the available information was $1 million from the CEO and Founder of Uline, Richard Uihlein. The filing notes that he is based in Illinois.
Billionaire philanthropist Marcus Bernard also gave $1 million in March 2022. This is in addition to the $750,000 he donated in late November 2021. Marcus retired from his leadership role at Home Depot over 20 years ago and has since focused on philanthropic endeavors and donating to Republican causes.
Another significant donation came from Joe Sanderson, the CEO of the Mississippi Sanderson Farms. Both he and Florida retiree Charles Johnson gave $100,000. Georgia-based executive Steve Hufstetler also donated $100,000.
None of these donors care about the truth or who they are supporting with these outlandish sums. It’s more money than the average person will ever see. But efforts claiming that Warnock is not working or doing anything are false. The candidate supported by 34N22 struggles to articulate a clear vision or alternative for what he would do differently or better.
Overall, the SuperPAC brought in $4,365,177.75 in the period ending April 30, 2022. This includes $19,495.26 from the Third Down Georgia PAC, another group backing Walker that claims Georgia is “ground zero” for taking back the Senate. Its website rehashes several extremist claims made by Warnocks 2020 opponent Kelly Loeffler. Also, Donald Trump Jr.’s Save The U.S. Senate PAC gave 34N22 $1,923.49 in January 2022.
Attacking Warnock on gas ignores how the Senate works
Folks can back whatever candidate they want. But trying to trick Black voters and lying to them is unacceptable. For his part, Warnock remains focused on running his race and doing his part as one of 100 Senators.
Moving things through the U.S. Senate requires support from the entire Democratic caucus and at least 10 Republicans. Warnock co-sponsored bills to address gas, rising prices, and insulin needs people to set aside their partisan differences and focus on people. Sadly, that hasn’t happened on most issues.
Republicans can’t just campaign to take back the Senate and whine about gridlock when they are a part of the problem and will do nothing to alleviate people’s conditions. But from a strategic standpoint, it’s understandable that those supporting Walker would want to keep Warnock on the defensive. Throwing around accusations and creating spectacles can keep someone on their toes and obscure the truth.
It’s funny how 34N22 and its wealthy retiree donors and CEOs aren’t going after the record profits being made by corporations as communities continue to struggle with rising costs at the pump. But Warnock’s Senate staff and his campaign team should not assume the average voter understands the nuance beyond the pain felt in their pockets.
As reported by CNN, gas prices in 10 states are over $5 a gallon. The outlet suggests the high costs result from a mixture of foreign affairs involving China and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. CNN noted that oil production has not returned to pre-pandemic levels on the domestic side.
Warnock works to ease the cost burden on Georgians
Despite his commitment to the principles and policies of his party, Warnock has been willing to work across the aisle to achieve wins for communities across the state. And where Republicans have not been willing to reach across the aisle, Warnock has helped the Senate Democratic caucus move forward with a people-first agenda.
Earlier this year, Warnock cited funding within the American Rescue Plan, which passed the Senate last year along party lines, that could help alleviate some of the cost burdens on communities. Millions of dollars went directly to states, counties and municipal governments without regard to the political affiliation of their leaders.
Monday evening, Warnock urged Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to bring forth legislation to address the high cost of insulin. The Affordable Insulin Now Act was introduced by Warnock and 36 other senators back in February.
“Georgians are hurting as they experience rising costs, spurred by corporate greed, and no matter the state of the economy, those who rely on insulin have no choice but to pay for this essential medication,” Warnock said in a statement. “The time is now to finally act on this critical issue, and we can’t afford to wait any longer.”
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