HuffPost called out Democratic Senate candidate Teresa Tomlinson Thursday for falsely claiming on social media that the liberal outlet proclaimed Georgia "in play" and Tomlinson "poised to win," phrases that never appeared in the outlet's story.
Reporter Jennifer Bendery interviewed Tomlinson and fellow Georgia Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico, two of the four candidates seeking to challenge Sen. David Perdue (R., Ga.), for a piece headlined, "Georgia Democrats Haven't Won A Senate Seat In 19 Years. Two Women Say They Can."
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Tomlinson's Twitter account shared a graphic with the HuffPost official header and the text, "Georgia is in play and Teresa is poised to win it." The juxtaposition made HuffPost D.C. bureau chief Amanda Terkel cry foul. She took to Twitter, writing that that was not the liberal outlet's headline and that those words did not appear in the article.
So… that is not our headline at all. And that quote isn't anywhere in the story. This is something the campaign made to make it look like we said this. (And by the way, here is the link to the actual story: https://t.co/ww7cZ1jRW2) https://t.co/Gl5NhnriGn
— Amanda Terkel (@aterkel) December 12, 2019
Tomlinson followed up later on Thursday with a tweet admitting it was not a real headline, but rather one being used on her campaign website. However, her campaign did not delete the initial tweet, nor did it delete an Instagram post also using the manipulated text.
*Note: This is not the Huffington Post headline. This is our headline on our website expressly stating that the post contains "excerpts from a Huffington Post piece." The quoted excerpts are correct.The Huffington Post logo has been removed from the web post to avoid confusion.
— Teresa Tomlinson (@teresatomlinson) December 12, 2019
Greg Bluestein, a reporter with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, noted that Tomlinson's campaign pulled a similar stunt earlier this year in a fundraising email. The campaign strategically edited the headline of one of Bluestein's articles, "Tomlinson picks up some newspaper love – in Virginia," to omit "in Virginia."
"Teresa Tomlinson's campaign is so desperate for good headlines from the media, they've resorted to writing fake ones and trying to pass them off as genuine," said John Burke of the pro-Perdue Georgia Action Fund in a press release. "Just when we thought her candidacy couldn't be struggling any more, this latest unforced error further shows she's not ready for prime time."
Tomlinson was the first Democrat to enter the Georgia Senate race following defeated gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams's announcement that she would not run. However, Tomlinson's lackluster fundraising failed to clear the field. She currently has $1 million less in cash on hand than Jon Ossoff, another Georgia Senate hopeful who previously lost a special election to fill the state's Sixth Congressional District seat in 2017.
A former two-term mayor of Columbus, Ga., Tomlinson told the Washington Free Beacon last month that the Democrats have not previously run "authentic" candidates like her who can appeal to Georgia voters outside metro Atlanta.
Georgia has not elected a Democrat to statewide office since the late Sen. Zell Miller in 2000. Perdue has a healthy $6.3 million in cash on hand as of the most recent federal filings. Election analysts favor him to win reelection.