Republican Sen. David Perdue of Georgia is running a new ad that tries to paint Democratic rival Jon Ossoff as an extreme liberal by lobbing a fictitious claim that he was endorsed by the Communist Party USA.
Ossoff, a 33-year-old Democratic media executive who’s never held public office but has proved to be a prolific fundraiser, is hoping to oust Perdue, 70, from the U.S. Senate seat he’s held in the reliably Republican state since 2015.
The senator has repeated the false claim about the Communist Party’s endorsement multiple times in the campaign, including in Dallas, Georgia, on Saturday. He shared the ad on his Twitter account Tuesday, and the Georgia Republican Party promoted it on social media.
A look at claims in the ad:
Narrator in DAVID PERDUE ad: “Jon Ossoff is caught lying again. ... One thing he can’t lie about? His endorsement by the Communist Party.”
THE FACTS: This is flatly false.
Ossoff wasn't endorsed by the Communist Party USA, Roberta Wood, a board member at the organization, confirmed to The Associated Press. She added that the party would not endorse Ossoff because he's a Democrat, and the organization does not endorse candidates from other parties.
Perdue’s ad flashes a screen capture of a 2017 Facebook post from the Communist Party USA's page, suggesting the post was evidence of an endorsement.
That Facebook post was made in 2017, before Ossoff was even running against Perdue. It linked to an article from the socialist publication People’s World titled “Progressive may win Newt Gingrich’s seat, handing Trumpism a major defeat.”
The story described Ossoff's rise in the polls during a 2017 House race against Republican Karen Handel. Ossoff, however, ultimately lost that contest.
“People post stories of interest,” Wood said. “Posting a story doesn’t constitute an endorsement." Wood is a senior editor at People's World as well as a member of Communist Party USA's board.
People's World responded to Perdue's claims in an article Tuesday.
“Neither the Communist Party, according to a party spokesperson, nor People’s World, for that matter, have endorsed Ossoff — either now or in any previous election,” the outlet said.
Ossoff never received or sought an endorsement from the Communist Party USA, his campaign said. Perdue's campaign, insistent on misinterpreting a posted news story as an endorsement, said it was standing by the ad.
EDITOR’S NOTE — A look at the veracity of claims by political figures.
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