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A provocative new ad claims Georgia GOP senator is more conservative than Attila the Hun. Really?

Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher September 22, 2020

If Your Time is short

  • Loeffler and her Republican challenger in the Nov. 3 election, Rep. Doug Collins, have both campaigned as the more conservative candidate.

  • Her claim of being more conservative than Attila the Hun is made in a lighthearted way in a TV ad, but her message about being the more conservative candidate is serious.

  • Loeffler cites ratings pegging her as a top conservative, while Collins cites her support of Democrats and Democratic causes.

In a Georgia special Senate election that features two Republicans — Sen. Kelly Loeffler and U.S.Rep. Doug Collins — part of the fight is over who is more conservative.

Loeffler tried tying Collins to Democrat Stacey Abrams, a former Georgia gubernatorial candidate. She claimed, "Collins repeatedly joined liberal Stacey Abrams to raise taxes...Kelly’s never voted for a tax increase — and never will." We rated Loeffler’s attack Mostly False

Collins, who is trying to win the seat Loeffler was appointed to fill, attacked Loeffler as having a "long history of donating to abortion-on-demand Democrats." That also rated Mostly False

Apparently now it’s time to shave the fuzz off the peach.

Via a TV ad released Sept. 21, the Loeffler campaign proclaims that she is "more conservative than Attila the Hun."

The ad even uses an actor in period costume on a throne grunting orders to an underling.

It’s all done with a light-hearted touch, but Loeffler’s attempt to portray herself as very conservative is serious.

It’s possible Loeffler took inspiration for the ad from Collins. 

"She was a quiet little corporate liberal who was fine with flag protests and diversity slogans until she fell behind in her Senate race," Collins campaign spokesman Dan McLagan said in an article published Aug. 10. "Now she’s trying to be Attila the Hun."

A unique race

The Senate race is one of 18 pivotal House and Senate contests up for election on Nov. 3 that PolitiFact is tracking. 

The special election — open to candidates from all parties, including the Rev. Raphael Warnock, the leading Democratic candidate — is to fill the seat held by Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson, who resigned in December with health problems. Loeffler was appointed to the seat on an interim basis. 

Georgia is unique in this cycle in that both of its Senate seats are being contested. If none of the 21 candidates in the special election gets at least 50% of the vote, a runoff election between the top two vote-getters will be held Jan. 5. 

Georgia’s other Senate contest pits Republican incumbent David Perdue against Democrat Jon Ossoff.

Loeffler’s conservative credentials

Loeffler’s campaign was serious in announcing the ad, saying in a news release the ad is "showcasing her strong conservative record." The campaign cited to PolitiFact the same evidence cited in the news release: 

  • A record of voting in the Senate with Donald Trump’s position 100% of the time, according to the FiveThirtyEight website;

  • The only senator to receive a 100% rating on a "legislative scorecard" from the conservative Heritage Foundation;

  • Endorsements from anti-abortion groups, including the National Right to Life Committee.

Loeffler not so conservative

In contrast, the Collins campaign has a website that attacks Loeffler by:

  • Citing her campaign contributions to Democrats;

  • Claiming she has never owned a Georgia hunting license, despite wearing a hunting vest in a campaign ad;

  • Claiming the WNBA basketball team Loeffler owns has donated proceeds of ticket sales to Planned Parenthood and partnered with the Everytown for Gun Safety gun-control group.

Attila the Hun

As for Attila the Hun, we can’t resist pointing out that the comparison is largely misaligned with history. Attila isn’t regarded as "conservative" in the ideological sense, according to historians. If you had to peg him, you’d probably say "murderer" or "plunderer." 

As the Smithsonian Magazine put it, his name is synonymous with bloody massacres and forcing "the mighty Roman Empire almost to its knees."

Attila, known as Flagellum Dei (Latin for "Scourge of God"), was the barbarian ruler of the Hun people from 434 to 453, when he died in his sleep. As king, he ruled jointly with his elder brother Bleda for the first 11 years, before murdering him. 

Attila was a "supreme king" who was, "of course, neither a conservative nor liberal by modern standards," said Hyun Jin Kim, a professor in classics at the University of Melbourne in Australia and author of "The Huns." "By Hunnic standards, Attila was a more or less traditional ruler."

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Our Sources

YouTube, Kelly Loeffler "Attila" ad, Sept. 21, 2020

Email, Kelly Loeffler campaign spokesman Stephen Lawson, Sept. 21, 2020

Email, Doug Collins campaign spokesman Dan McLagan, Sept. 21, 2020

Atlanta Journal Constitution, "New Loeffler ad: ‘She’s more conservative than Attila the Hun,’" Sept. 21, 2020

Encyclopedia Britannica, "Attila," accessed Sept. 21, 2020

Smithsonian Magazine, "Nice Things to Say About Attila the Hun," Feb. 3, 2012

FiveThirtyEight, "Tracking Congress In The Age Of Trump," accessed Sept. 22, 2020

Email, Georgia Democratic Party spokesman Alex Floyd, Sept. 21, 2020

Kelly Loeffler campaign, news release, Sept. 21, 2020

Kelly Loeffler campaign, news release, May 5, 2020

Kelly Loeffler campaign, news release, Aug. 11, 2020

Email, Hyun Jin Kim, professor in classics at the University of Melbourne Australia and author of "The Huns," Sept. 21, 2020

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A provocative new ad claims Georgia GOP senator is more conservative than Attila the Hun. Really?