The campaigns of the Georgia Senate candidates in both parties have agreed that a photo should not have been taken last week. The photo shows a smiling Sen. Kelly Loeffler posing with Chester Doles, who has a long record of white supremacism and racial hatred. "Kelly had no idea who that was, and if she had she would have kicked him out immediately," the Republican's campaign spokesman said, "because we condemn in the most vociferous terms everything that he stands for." There is no indication that Loeffler knew who Doles is, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The photo was taken Friday at an event in Dawsonville and posted by Doles on VK, a Russian social networking site. It soon showed up on Twitter. "This is who @KLoeffler is proudly appealing to," a Jewish organization posted.
Doles marched with a racist gang in 2017 in Charlottesville, belonged to the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazi National Alliance for decades, and received a prison sentence for the beating of a Black man in 1993. He said in a 2019 interview that he'd "mellowed" slightly but nonetheless said, "I’m a fourth-generation Klansman," per WXIA. Doles also attended a Loeffler event in September, when her campaign also said she didn't know who he was. Other Republicans have had Doles barred from their events. "There's no acceptable explanation for it happening once, let alone a second time,” said a spokesman for the Rev. Raphael Warnock's campaign. Loeffler and Warnock, a Democrat, are competing in a Jan. 5 Senate runoff election. "White supremacy and white nationalism have no place in our country, and I will continue to denounce any and all forms of hate," Rep. Doug Collins said in 2019 after Doles was listed as a speaker at a Collins event. (Read more Sen. Kelly Loeffler stories.)