Less than a month out from the pivotal U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia, Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff on Friday released a 30-second ad blasting Republican incumbent Sen. David Perdue over his opposition to the $1,200 stimulus checks and temporarily expanded unemployment benefits provided by the CARES Act.
The spot features a Georgia man slamming Perdue for putting the interests of large corporations first as his constituents were hammered by the coronavirus pandemic and thrown out of work by the resulting economic meltdown.
"We needed our senator's help, but for David Perdue, we weren't the priority," the man says. "Senator Perdue voted to give hundreds of billions to big corporations, even if they laid people off. But he fought against the $1,200 stimulus check for workers and supported cutting our unemployment benefits. Even at a moment like this, David Perdue's there for his donors, but not for us."
Watch the ad:
Perdue voted for the CARES Act, but not before supporting a failed Republican amendment that aimed to pare back the bill's $600-per-week unemployment boost, which proved to be the legislation's most successful component before it expired at the end of July. The trio of Senate Republicans behind the amendment claimed the $600 boost was too generous.
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The Georgia Republican also opposed the one-time $1,200 direct payments the CARES Act distributed to U.S. adults. Asked about the stimulus checks in a May interview with Marietta Daily Journal, Perdue said, "I personally opposed it, but that's a controversial position."
While national headlines about the Ossoff-Perdue race have been dominated by revelations surrounding Perdue's shady stock dealings and other seemingly untoward conduct—including the sale of his home to a finance industry lobbyist—Ossoff's ads and campaign trail rhetoric have frequently featured populist messaging casting the Georgia Republican as an enemy of the working class as well as an outright "crook."
"Instead of him being concerned about us, he's off selling stocks. We had no idea we'd have to close our businesses off, lose caterings, and so many people died," a family business owner said in an ad released by the Ossoff campaign last month. "And then when we needed help the most, he fought against the stimulus checks and cut unemployment insurance."
In a November 30 interview with the Washington Post, Ossoff warned that bold coronavirus relief hinges on defeating both Perdue and Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) on January 5 and ending Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) stranglehold on the Senate.
"If McConnell controls the Senate, he's going to block the kind of relief package that we need," said Ossoff. "And that means not just short-term, direct economic relief, but also the kind of infrastructure-jobs-clean energy program necessary to support long-term recovery."
"We have to make sure that voters understand the stakes," Ossoff added.