In a newly unearthed video from 2020, Democratic senator Raphael Warnock (Ga.) said the United States needs to move away from using fossil fuels and that he's open to discussing a carbon tax to get there.
Warnock was interviewed by Georgia Conservation Voters executive director Brionte McCorkle when he was asked whether he supports carbon tax legislation, according to the video posted on YouTube on May 1, 2020.
"I think we need to be moving away from an economy that’s based on fossil fuels, that’s the way of the past and we need to be moving toward the future," said Warnock. "The issue of taxes and how much, that’s a conversation that I think I want to participate in, and I’ll bring my values and commitment to getting there to the conversation."
The video, which will be used as part of an ad campaign by 34N22, a super PAC supporting Warnock’s Republican opponent Herschel Walker, comes as Warnock has worked to position himself as moderate on energy issues amid skyrocketing gas prices in Georgia and around the United States.
Georgia gas prices hit an all-time high this week, according to AAA. The average price of a gallon of regular gas hit $4.28 on Tuesday, up from $2.72 last year. Gas prices have been rising for months, alongside rapid inflation, and the spike has accelerated due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In response to the increase, Warnock and a handful of other politically vulnerable Democrats have pushed for a gas tax holiday to temporarily reduce the price for consumers.
The move is a shift for Warnock, who voted against lifting the Biden administration’s ban on domestic oil and gas production on federal lands in August and voted multiple times against moving forward on the Keystone XL pipeline.
A spokeswoman for Warnock defended his energy record.
"Senator Warnock is currently leading the effort to suspend the federal gas tax to bring down costs for Georgians and Americans," Warnock communications director Meredith Brasher told the Washington Free Beacon.
34N22, the pro-Republican super PAC that unearthed the video, told the Free Beacon that it will be highlighting Warnock’s comments as part of a "six-figure digital ad buy."
"Raphael Warnock helped kill the Keystone Pipeline and American energy development—causing Georgia’s gas prices to spike and our country to lose its energy independence," said 34N22’s Stephen Lawson. "Now it’s clear that it was all part of his radical, far-left agenda from the very beginning. As Georgians watch the meter on the pump skyrocket and struggle to put gas in their car, they know exactly who's to blame—and see why Warnock isn’t working."