Democratic Senate candidate Teresa Tomlinson said voters concerned about the cost of the Green New Deal can "stop complaining" because "we're already paying" for the costs of climate change.
"I can tell you, we're already paying for it. So people can stop complaining about what they think the ‘Green New Deal' or any other bold idea might cost us, because we're already paying for the effect," Tomlinson said in a video posted to Twitter by the Georgia Action Fund, a conservative group supporting state Republicans.
"We might as well be paying to limit and stop the climate change, and not just pick up the pieces after the disastrous impact of it," she added.
— Georgia Action Fund (@GeorgiaAction) November 13, 2019
"Teresa Tomlinson's eagerness to spend tens of trillions of U.S. taxpayer dollars on socialist schemes that would destroy our economy further shows that she lacks the judgment to represent Georgia's working families in the Senate," Georgia Action Fund wrote in a press release.
Tomlinson is the former mayor of Columbus, Ga., and is running for the Democratic nomination to challenge Sen. David Perdue (R.). A policy paper on her campaign website endorses the creation of a "new, clean economy" that involves the creation of a new power grid.
In a Facebook post, Tomlinson criticized Perdue and Georgia Republicans for their reaction to her comments.
"What really shocks them is I'm a leader who is not afraid to stand for and speak to controversial topics, like climate change," she wrote.
"You don't have to dig too deep to find out I believe climate change is real. You also don't have to dig too deep to find out I support a clean energy infrastructure in Georgia that will create millions of jobs," she added.
The Green New Deal could cost up to $94 trillion over the next decade, according to a study from the American Action Forum. The cost comes from the deal's proposed overhaul of America's transportation system, as well as the implementation of universal health care and a federal jobs guarantee, among other progressive policy priorities.
Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) has offered his own version of the Green New Deal with a $16.3 trillion price tag. That spending would aim to transition the United States economy to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. Sanders's campaign claimed the plan would be funded through military spending cuts, tax hikes on the fossil fuel industry, and the creation of millions of new jobs.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's (D., N.Y.) former chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti said the deal's framework is not about climate change, but instead about reshaping the economy.
"The interesting thing about the Green New Deal is it wasn't originally a climate thing at all," he told a Washington Post reporter. "Do you guys think of it as a climate thing? Because we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing."
Tomlinson previously claimed she could "torpedo the Republican rural strategy" and beat Perdue in 2020. Three other Democratic candidates are vying for the opportunity to take down the first-term Republican senator, including failed congressional candidate Jon Ossoff.