Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) is in hot water after a photograph of her posing alongside a former KKK member surfaced online over the weekend.
Chester Doles, a prominent white supremacist who marched during the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, posted the picture to social media on Saturday.
“Kelly Loeffener [sic] and I,” Doles said. “Save America, stop Socialism!”
The post was quickly noticed by numerous civil liberties groups, which began sharing the photograph across Twitter.
“ALERT: Kelly Loeffler just posed for a photo with Chester Doles, a former KKK leader who runs the white supremacist American Patriots USA,” @jewishaction tweeted. “In 1993, Doles nearly beat a Black man to death. In 2017, he marched in Charlottesville. This is who @KLoeffler is proudly appealing to.”
The picture comes just weeks before two runoff elections in Georgia that will decide whether Republicans or Democrats control the U.S. Senate.
Democrats in the state pointed to the photo as evidence that Loeffler is unfit to hold office. Miryam Lipper, the communications director for Democratic Senate hopeful Jon Ossoff, boldly stated that “This is Georgia’s GOP.”
While Loeffler was initially silent on the matter, her campaign released a statement on Sunday condemning Doles and his beliefs.
“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,” said Stephen Lawson, Loeffler’s campaign spokesman.
Doles, who claims to have renounced his past despite maintaining relationships with other white supremacists, has a long history with hate groups. Aside from his former involvement with the KKK, Doles has also been accused of having ties to the neo-Nazi National Alliance and the skinhead gang known as the Hammerskins.