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Senate candidate Herschel Walker speaks to supporters at a campaign rally
Senate candidate Herschel Walker speaks to supporters at a campaign rally in McDonough, Ga. on Wednesday.Brandon Bell / Getty Images

Walker ad attacks Warnock over church’s housing complex

The GOP candidate in Georgia's Senate runoff says the Democratic incumbent "preys" on the poor with church-owned apartments.

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Herschel Walker’s campaign launched a new attack ad Friday aimed at Sen. Raphael Warnock’s core identity as a Christian pastor by accusing him of preying on the poor with his church’s ownership of a low-income apartment complex.

Warnock, a Democrat who is the lead pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church — the spiritual home of the Rev. Martin Luther King — has called the attacks inaccurate, “vicious and venomous.”

The 30-second TV ad, which the Walker campaign says is part of a “seven-figure” buy, revolves around eviction notices filed against some low-income residents over their failure to pay rent at the Columbia Tower at MLK Village apartment complex.

“Rev. Warnock prays/preys on the poor,” a narrator in the ad says as the words appear on screen and “prays” morphs into to “preys.”

The Republican’s ad then mentions that Warnock receives more than $7,000 monthly in a housing stipend from his church.

Warnock and his campaign have pushed back on criticisms by pointing out that the church foundation doesn’t run the apartment complex, Columbia Tower at MLK Village. Instead, the firm Columbia Residential manages Columbia Tower, is in charge of evictions and told Newsweek that the church “bears no responsibility” for what has happened. The Warnock campaign pointed out that the Columbia Tower rate of filing eviction notices is not an outlier for apartment complexes.

The controversy first surfaced in an expose last month from the conservative Washington Free Beacon, which went on to detail deplorable conditions at Columbia Tower, where a maintenance man reportedly murdered a tenant, a sex offender slept in the hallways and a corpse was once left to rot for days before the fly-covered body was found.

At a Thursday event, Warnock declined to tell two reporters if “he has looked into the issue or if he believes it was wrong the notices were sent,” according to POLITICO.

By his own admission, Warnock said Sunday in a church sermon that he has “been a bit troubled” by the criticisms of the apartment complex, “troubled by the folk who have the nerve and the unmitigated audacity to attack the church, to attack the church of Jesus Christ, to attack the Ebenezer Baptist Church … to attack the spiritual home of Martin Luther King Jr., America’s freedom church.”

The runoff election is Dec. 6 since neither man received more than 50 percent of the vote in last Tuesday midterm election. Warnock received more votes and led Walker by about a percentage point after ballots were counted.