by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams is out with a new ad that uses a “former deputy sheriff” to argue that Abrams’s opponent is making the state “less safe.” There’s just one problem: That officer never served in Georgia.
In a July 12 ad titled “Dangerous,” Abrams’s leadership PAC, One Georgia, employs a “former deputy sheriff”—who is identified only as “Dennis”—to claim that Republican governor Brian Kemp “may talk tough” but “makes us less safe.” But “Dennis” never patrolled the mean streets of Atlanta—or any Georgia street, for that matter. “Dennis” is LGBT attorney and Democratic activist Dennis Collard, a Florida native who worked as a police officer in the Sunshine State from 1994-1999, his LinkedIn shows. Collard—who, according to his LinkedIn, uses pronouns he/him—went on to join an Atlanta-based law firm in 2003, roughly 13 years before he founded his own divorce firm in Atlanta.
This is far from the first time Abrams has been forced to go out of state in search of political support. Just 14 percent of the $50 million she’s raised for her campaign against Kemp came from Georgia residents. Nearly half of that money, meanwhile, came from Washington, D.C., California, New York, and Delaware. Abrams in May called Georgia “the worst state in the country to live.”
Jackson County sheriff Janis Mangum, who is one of more than 100 Georgia sheriffs to endorse Kemp, said she was “not surprised at all” to hear that Abrams struggled to recruit a police officer who served in the Peach State.
“I’m not surprised by that at all when you’ve got someone who talks about defunding the police. Defunding the police would be the worst thing for anybody to do in our state—it’s just absolutely ridiculous,” Mangum told the Washington Free Beacon. “And for somebody to think like that, I don’t know that you’re going to have any law enforcement officers get behind you.”