CARROLLTON, Ga. — US Sen. Kelly Loeffler says it’s “fake news” that her WNBA team helped Planned Parenthood at an event two years ago. She also says she’s not sure if it actually happened.
It matters because Loeffler is in an election battle with fellow Republican Doug Collins and other candidates in a special election in November.
Loeffler energetically casts herself as the most conservative candidate in the special election US Senate race.
Yet just two years ago, she posed on a basketball court and applauded the introduction of the state’s most prominent Democrat, Stacey Abrams, embracing the then-candidate for governor.
Video of the event surfaced over the weekend.
"I’m the owner of a basketball team that welcomes guests to our games," Loeffler said Tuesday of the Abrams moment. "I’ve never voted with Stacey Abrams," she said, echoing an advertising message her campaign is sending about US Rep. Doug Collins.
Collins, also vying for conservative voters, admits he voted with Abrams on bipartisan measures but says he opposed her on ideological issues when they served together in the state House of Representatives.
Loeffler’s pro-life stance is a mainstay in her stump speech at events like one in Carrollton Tuesday.
But at around the same time that she posed with Abrams – ESPN reports that the Atlanta Dream had hosted volunteers and staff from Planned Parenthood at an event that touted a longtime partnership between the WNBA and the abortion rights and women’s health organization.
"That’s completely fake news," Loeffler said of the ESPN story.
But when asked if that means it's untrue, Loeffler said "I have no idea. That’s not something I would have done or would have ever approved. The Dream has always played at a venue that we don’t own so we don’t control who is in the arena."
Collins contends Loeffler shifted her politics to win conservative votes after she was named by Gov. Brian Kemp to replace Republican US Sen. Johnny Isakson, who resigned due to health issues.
Loeffler and Collins are among 21 candidates appearing on the Nov. 3 special election ballot in a so-called "jungle" primary, which means Democrats and Republicans are lumped together on a single ballot.
Rev. Raphael Warnock is the Democrat on the ballot who has gotten support from Abrams, and who openly says he supports Planned Parenthood.