“Rich McCormick shouldn’t be running for Congress. Instead, he should be begging Georgia seniors and families to forgive him after he downplayed the coronavirus threat, hawked unproven medicine, and pledged to strip away health care from Georgians with pre-existing conditions. McCormick is a snake oil salesman who won’t give a straight answer on whether he pays his taxes. But what is clear already is that he would be nothing more than a rubber stamp in Congress for the Washington special interests funding his campaign.” – DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos
To: Interested Parties
From: Avery Jaffe, DCCC Regional Press Secretary
Date: June 10, 2020
Subject: The Case Against Rich McCormick
What does it say about today’s Republican Party that a single retweet from President Trump can turn a gadfly conservative candidate into the frontrunner inside of a clown-car congressional primary?
In Georgia’s 7th Congressional District, it says that Republicans have chosen to nominate an unvetted, untested, all-in MAGA conspiracy theorist Trump supporter in Rich McCormick, who will have the distinction of going from complete obscurity to losing to a strong Democratic nominee in GA-07 this November.
A reminder: GA-07 was the closest U.S. House race in the country in 2018 and Stacey Abrams won this district. Rather than run for re-election, incumbent Congressman Rob Woodall was the first Republican in a swing district to announce his retirement in 2019.
Now, McCormick enters the general election having defined himself entirely by his wacky MAGA agenda in the primary, leaving him completely unequipped to make his case to a moderate 7th District that is set to reject extremists like him as it grows more diverse by the day.
Oh yeah, and he also believes in President Trump’s bonkers “Obamagate” conspiracy theory.
Rich McCormick is a charlatan. He hawks dangerous snake oil, whether it be hydroxychloroquine or health care repeal. McCormick’s vast social media presence reveals an extreme and utterly reckless agenda, like on February 27 of this year when McCormick celebrated that “nobody in the United States has died of [coronavirus], we have zero cases in Georgia,” downplaying calls to prepare for a pandemic that has since claimed over 100,000 American lives and comparing it to the flu.
And so it began. After a retweet from the President of the United States, McCormick was on a path to far-right stardom. Soon, McCormick followed up with another doozy: peddling the unproven hydroxychloroquine drug to the online masses.
Beyond his social media littered with love letters to President Trump and other out-there allies like Ted Cruz and Washington’s reckless Freedom Caucus, Georgia Republicans love to nominate and mainstream suburban Georgians are set to reject. (See also: Collins, Doug and Handel, Karen.)
Rich McCormick was never the plan for Republicans in the Peach State – and now they’re stuck with him.
Then again, what has gone right for Georgia Republicans in 2020?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
“Georgia’s 7th District was once considered a Republican stronghold, but its Atlanta suburbs began to break away from the GOP in the 2018 midterms just as dozens of other districts around the country that flipped blue did. Republican Rep. Rob Woodall’s 419-vote victory was the narrowest House margin nationwide in 2018, and his retirement announcement the following February created a free-for-all in the June 9 primary.” [Roll Call, 5/7/20]
“‘Tell me what we haven’t done to contain this virus? So far, nobody in the United States has died of it,’ [McCormick] said. ‘To put this in perspective, 12,000 year people die every year of the flu,’ he noted, on a day when worldwide infections from the coronavirus passed 83,000 and a second case showed up in California.” [Daily Mail, 2/28/20]
“Voter records show McCormick was registered to vote in Florida from 2000 to 2019. But, he moved to Georgia around 2005. We asked McCormick’s campaign whether he filed his taxes in Florida – where there is no state income tax – while he was living in Georgia. The campaign’s answer was unclear.” [Fox 5 Atlanta, 5/14/20]
“Club for Growth has also jumped in the race, spending over $280,000 opposing Unterman and $105,000 backing McCormick. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and the House Freedom Fund have also endorsed McCormick.” [OpenSecrets.org, 5/21/20]
Rich McCormick: A Shady Rubber Stamp for Trump’s Extreme Washington Agenda
A WASHINGTON EXTREMIST
Rich McCormick is wrong on practically every priority for Georgia families.
McCormick’s policies would be a total disaster for Georgians in the 7th District, starting with his pledge to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. McCormick calls the health care law preserving protections for Georgians with pre-existing conditions “a disaster,” which will come as a shock to the more than 355,000 7th District residents with pre-existing conditions whose coverage could be at risk if McCormick had his way.
A health care opponent, McCormick also opposes a woman’s right to choose – just like the Atlanta politicians who passed Georgia’s extreme and rigid abortion ban law that threatens to drive business out of the state.
McCormick is all-in on the GOP tax scam that gave away billions to big drugmakers and said he would “double down” on it in Congress. And speaking of taxes, McCormick also supports the so-called “FairTax” – a reckless scheme that would raise costs on seniors and working families across metro Atlanta by 23 percent.
A CORONAVIRUS QUACK SELLING SNAKE OIL TO GEORGIANS
No doubt about it: Rich McCormick downplayed the threat coronavirus posed to Georgians. It’s an unforgivable political sin.
McCormick also hawked the unproven, but undeniably dangerous drug favored by President Trump because it would help his political career.
He repeatedly praised Donald Trump’s unprepared response to the coronavirus and Brian Kemp’s subsequent hasty reopening of bowling alleys and nail salons, even as the pandemic raged through Georgia and killed more than 2,000 people. And in the middle of the pandemic, McCormick even spread President Trump’s bonkers conspiracy theory that former President Obama personally spied on him.
McCormick claimed that President Trump’s unprepared response to the coronavirus would “save lives,” even as analysts concluded more than 36,000 lives could have been saved if the White House had acted just one week sooner. And he told a Republican audience that he specifically loved how the federal government “decentralized command” – in other words, failed to lead and left it up to states to fend for themselves.
A SHADY SPECIAL INTEREST SNOWFLAKE
McCormick was propped up in the primary by swampy Washington special interests who “dropped over $1 million in the primary to help boost McCormick and knock down his opponents,” dragging his campaign across the finish line.
During the GOP primary, Republican Mark Gonsalves called McCormick a “puppet of the establishment” and “an establishment plant who is already controlled by Washington super PACs.” He dogged McCormick over his corporate PAC donors and highlighted McCormick’s apparent lie as to his whereabouts during the 2016 election.
After McCormick tried to claim he was in Afghanistan during the 2016 election, Gonsalves pointed out that McCormick was actually on vacation with his wife in Turks and Caicos during that time. In response, McCormick blocked Gonsalves on Twitter. What a snowflake!
That’s when things started to get really weird. Soon after, a Fox 5 Atlanta investigation raised real questions over McCormick’s voting history while McCormick’s campaign provided hostile responses (Snowflakes!). The investigation found that McCormick had been registered to vote in Florida as recently as 2019 while also being registered to vote in Georgia since 2005.
Florida, of course, has no state income tax. But Georgia does.
It’s unclear why McCormick would still be voting absentee in Florida more than a decade after he moved to Georgia. And when asked if McCormick has ever paid Georgia state income taxes, he didn’t respond.
PATH TO VICTORY
The path to victory for Democrats in Georgia’s 7th Congressional District picks up right where it left off in 2018.
In 2018, GA-07 was the closest congressional race in the country, decided by a mere 433 votes while Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams won the district outright. Congressman Rob Woodall became the first Member of Congress to call it quits in 2019, announcing his retirement just about as soon as he set foot in the District of Columbia rather than run for re-election in this rapidly Democratic-trending district.
Georgia’s 7th Congressional District consists of diversifying Atlanta suburbs in Gwinnett County, which has swung hard against Republicans. Gwinnett County is one of just six counties nationwide that voted for Hillary Clinton after supporting John McCain and Mitt Romney. The remaining vote comes from Forsyth County, which has the fastest growing population in Georgia.
In the adjacent 6th District, Congresswoman Lucy McBath has paved the way for how Georgia Democrats can win in suburban Atlanta. GA-07 is even more diverse than GA-06. Between 2012 and 2020, GA-07 became more than 11 points less white and now almost half of the district’s citizen voting age population is non-white.
In 2018, voters of color turned out at an even greater rate they did in 2016. In 2020, an historic number of people of color will head to the polls and represent a key part of the coalition to elect the first Democratic member of Congress from GA-07 in 37 years.
With GA-07 party registration and vote share trending toward Democratic and independents voters in recent years, a strong Democratic nominee will be able to capture the clear grassroots enthusiasm permeating through the Atlanta suburbs and exurbs in order to flip this seat in 2020.