Mystery Robocall Thanks Democrats in Competitive Georgia Race for Supporting Abortion Rights for ‘People in Childbirth’



CNN

In a political appeal to tens of thousands of Georgians, he thanked a weak congressional Democrat and Democratic gubernatorial candidate for protecting the rights of “people in labor” to “abort until the date of birth” – a target of competing abortion rights tensions. the races

The calls, which used polarizing language popular among Democratic activists, appear to be in favor of Democrat Sanford Bishop and gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, but Democrats in the races have complained that the call was uncovered by CNN’s KFile. Republican work.

The call is made by a group called American Values; the groups that operate under that or similar names have said that they are not behind the call.

Bishop, who has served in Congress for 30 years, faces Republican Chris West in Georgia’s 2nd Congressional District, one of the only competitive House races in the state.

The Abrams campaign and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is supporting Bishop’s race, said they did not pay for the poll. Bishop’s campaign declined to comment on the record.

The robocall is narrated by a woman who gives the name and pronouns Jill and continues to say that people who identify as women are being attacked in the state.

“This is Jill, and my pronouns are she/him,” she says. “I’m sure you’ll agree with me that people who identify as women are under attack, not just in Georgia, but in our country. Georgia is lucky to have Stacey Abrams and Sanford Bishop fighting for our abortion rights.”

The call continues, with Bishop and Abrams supporting abortion right up to the moment of birth. Abrams has campaigned that he does not believe in government restrictions on abortion, and has called “arbitrary” periods a medical decision. The bishops have voted in the past to ban late-term abortion procedures, expressing support for the restriction, saying abortion should be rare, legal and safe and in cases of rape, incest or to protect a woman’s life or health. .

“While some elected officials are trying to limit the right to abortion to five months after birth, we are very fortunate to have Stacey Abrams and Sanford Bishop fighting to protect our right to abortion up until the day of birth,” he said. says the narrator of the call. “Would you please take a moment to call Stacey Abrams or Sanford Bishop and thank them for standing up for women’s right to abort babies before birth?”

“Government should stay out of the reproductive rights of people who are born,” says narrator Jill.

Robotikast ends by saying it was “paid for by American Values ​​and was not authorized by any candidacy or nominating committee,” but several groups operating under that or similar names denied to CNN that they were behind the call. And there is no political action committee registered under that name in Georgia.

The call reached approximately 43,000 phones between October 14 and Friday, October 16, according to data from anti-robbery app Nomorobo.

The message does not identify who paid for the incoming call and provide a calling number, which violates Federal Communications Commission rules for automated or pre-recorded political voice campaign calls.

October’s Robocall invites listeners to press one and two to leave a message for Abrams and Bishop, respectively. If a user clicks two, they are redirected to Bishop’s Albany district office. But when a user presses one, the call is redirected to the private number of local Democratic committee chair Sandra Sallee. Sallee called it a “dirty” trick in a phone interview and said the phone calls were harassing.

CNN’s KFile reached out to nearly a dozen active federal PACs on behalf of “American Values.” Several PACs told CNN they have never used robocalls for messaging and have no plans to; others did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.

“Robodies are a fun political tactic because they have an almost perfect record of never working,” said Donald Green, a political science professor at Columbia University.

Green said the “pretty much unanimous conclusion” is that they don’t affect voter turnout or voter turnout, but are often used because they’re so cheap. He suggested that the tactic could be used to generate media attention in the race.

“It’s very rare, you know, to have something like a wolf in sheep’s clothing kind of tactic,” Green said. “It’s not unheard of in American politics, because nothing is heard, but it’s rare.”

On Thursday, another mysterious bogus robocall was made to Georgia voters with a similar modus operandi, but this time targeting only Bishop.

“Congressman Bishop is the only candidate with a 100% approval rating with Planned Parenthood and will defend abortion rights up to nine months. Don’t let Republican Chris West win,” says a female narrator.

According to Nomorobo’s data, this robocall reached 41,000 phones and there is some overlap between the recipients of this call and the one addressed by Abrams and Bishop.

The caller was unable to report who was behind the call at the beginning and end of the call. When CNN tried to call the number, an automated message said “this number is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.”

In a statement to CNN, Abrams campaign spokesman Alex Floyd said, “This disgusting and false attack is the new low of the right wing, and it comes just like the misrepresentations and outright lies that have become a hallmark of the Kemp campaign. Stacey Abrams has been clear about Roe and Casey. along the lines of supporting abortion restrictions. Now is the time for Brian Kemp to publicly condemn this bogus robocall and start answering Georgians’ questions about his extreme anti-choice record.”

Abrams, who once opposed abortion rights, said last month that abortion “is a decision that should be made between the woman and her doctor. That viability is a metric. And if the woman’s health or life is at risk, the viability is extended until the moment of birth, but women do not take this option lightly.”

Abrams added that no one believes there shouldn’t be a limit, but that “the limit shouldn’t be made by politicians who don’t believe in basic biology or, apparently, basic morality.”

A spokeswoman for the Kemp campaign, Tate Mitchell, said they were not responsible for the robocalls.

The Bishop campaign declined to comment to CNN.

DCCC spokeswoman Monica Robinson said: “This deceptive robocall – paid for by a shadowy outside interest group – reeks of desperation. Lying to win the election is proof that Chris West can’t win with integrity or on his own merits. If West has any integrity, these robocalls He will denounce them and call on his special interest sponsors to stop lying to Georgians.”

Bishop, a 15-term moderate Democrat, has advocated and voted for some restrictions on late-term abortion in the past, and recently reiterated his support for abortion rights. “These personal health choices should be in the hands of a woman, her God and her doctor, not politicians in 50 different state legislatures,” Bishop said after the Supreme Court overturned it. Roe v. Wade.

West’s campaign did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment.

This isn’t the first time this election cycle that a robocall spewing outrageous claims has occurred in Georgia’s 2nd Congressional District.

In June, the local newspaper Ledger-Enquirer reported that robocalls affiliated with the campaign of Republican candidate Jeremy Hunt were being sent to homes in the neighborhood, but the underlying message was intended to alienate support from Hunt, who was a black ex-army. the captain

He said in a June robocall that it was time to “celebrate Black independence” and “modernize” the Republican party by supporting Hunt. “We can leave the old ways of the Republican Party behind and build our party better,” the narrator said, a nod to Biden’s “Build Better” slogan. “More attacks on our capital, not more divisive language from a former president.”

That robocall also did not identify who paid for it, and Hunt and West accused each other’s campaign and the super PACs they supported of sending the call.

A PAC that supported Hunt in that primary is called “American Values ​​First,” a name partially invoked in the October robocall led by Bishop and Abrams.

American Values ​​First is one of the PACs CNN reached out to for comment about whether they were responsible for the October robocall. PAC treasurer and spokesman Joel Riter said the PAC has nothing to do with the robocalls and has not spent any money on the general election race.