Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams does not appear to have much support from law enforcement officers in the state. In fact, she had to bring in a Democratic activist and former law enforcement officer who worked outside the state to publicly support her campaign in a new ad.
In the new spot, the Abrams campaign appears to be attempting to bolster her image in the eyes of law enforcement by having a “former deputy sheriff” identified only as “Dennis” argue that incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp is making Georgia “less safe.”
The ad was produced by Abrams’ PAC One Georgia and is titled “Dangerous.” It uses video of “Dennis” to claim that the state’s new permitless constitutional carry law “makes us less safe.”
What the ad doesn’t mention is that “Dennis” has never worked inside Georgia in law enforcement. He is in reality attorney Dennis Collard, who is an activist for LGBT and Democratic causes. He is a Florida native and worked as a police officer there in the late 1990s.
Collard’s LinkedIn profile shows that he uses the pronouns “he/him” and went on to work for an Atlanta law firm in 2003 before later forming his own divorce firm there.
Collard filmed another ad for Abrams’ failed 2018 campaign for governor and contributed $500 to her campaign this year. He filed a campaign finance complaint against Gov. Kemp in 2019.
The fact that Abrams had to use someone whose experience is from another state decades ago is not unusual, as her campaign has largely been supported by political interests outside of Georgia. Of the $50 million her campaign has raised, only 14% has come from Georgia residents. Almost half of her contributions have come from D.C., California, New York, and Delaware.
Meanwhile, Kemp has been endorsed by more than 100 Georgia sheriffs. Jackson County Sheriff Janis Mangum said that she was “not surprised at all” to learn that Abrams could not find an officer working in the state to support her campaign, given her resolve to defund the police.
Abrams has notably served as a board member of the Marguerite Casey Foundation, a group that promotes defunding police departments. After she joined the board in May 2021, the group announced its “Answer the Uprising” movement, designed to fund groups working to “transform, defund, and abolish police.”
The Foundation has also provided $200,000 to the Louisville Community Bail Fund, which afterward paid $100,000 to provide bail for an anti-police activist charged with attempting to murder a mayoral candidate.
The best that Abrams has come up with to distance herself from the Foundation is to claim she does not support defunding police. The group’s website said that the “Answer the Uprising” initiative was fully supported by its board, going on to specifically name Abrams.
Abrams has previously worked as a romance novelist and has served in the Georgia state legislature. She ran against Kemp for governor in 2018 and never conceded defeat after the election, claiming it was “stolen” from her through “voter suppression.”