ATLANTA — Senator Kelly Loeffler is under fire after a photo shared on social media shows her posing with a known white supremacist who spent decades in the Ku Klux Klan.
Loeffler’s campaign swiftly condemned the photo, saying she did not know who the man was when she posed with him at an event in Dawsonville Friday.
The photo is of a smiling Loeffler posing with Chester Doyle.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Dolye was sentenced to prison in 1993 for beating a Black man inMaryland, was associated with the Klan and the neo-Nazi National Alliance and the Hammerskins, a skinhead group that he marched with in a 2017 rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that left a woman dead.
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“Kelly had no idea who that was, and if she had she would have kicked him out immediately because we condemn in the most vociferous terms everything that he stands for,” Stephen Lawson, Loeffler’s spokesperson, said in a statement made Channel 2 Action News.
Doles posted the image to his social media account, a Russian social networking site. The image quickly spread on Twitter.
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Loeffler’s rival, Democratic candidate Raphael Warnock, swiftly issued his own statement, saying there is no reasonable explanation for the photo and that Doles has appeared at previous Loeffler campaign events.
“She is once again trying to distance herself from someone who is a known white supremacist and former KKK leader who nearly beat a Black man to death. There’s no acceptable explanation for it happening once, let alone a second time,” Warnock spokesman Michael Brewer said.
Congresswoman-elect and Democratic Party of Georgia Chair Nikema Williams also released a statement Sunday, saying:
“Hatred and racism have no place in our politics, yet once again we are seeing Senator Kelly Loeffler appear with a bigoted and appalling figure. This isn’t the first time her campaign, which is responsible for divisive attacks, is having to explain why this has taken place. Georgians deserve better than her excuses and her deeply negative campaign.”
In 2019, Doles started a group supportive of President Donald Trump called American Patriots USA. He has attended many Republican events.