GOP to air attack ads over relocation of MLB All-Star game

Both the Republican National Committee and the Senate Republican campaign arm will be airing attack ads Monday and Tuesday, during Major League Baseball’s All-Star activities. 

The ads blame Democrats for the economic costs for Georgia stemming from by the MLB’s decision to move the All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver, after an changes to Georgia’s election laws

The Cobb County Travel and Tourism Bureau estimated in April that the move cost Atlanta $100 million in lost revenue, and would have been “a big boost” to local businesses after the COVID-19 pandemic. Colorado Governor Jared Polis and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, both Democrats, estimated Denver would see $100 million in revenue from hosting the MLB All-Star game.

“This was supposed to be Atlanta’s night, but we were robbed. Democrats stole our All-Star game to push their divisive political agenda,” Reverend and former Republican Georgia State Representative Melvin Everson says in the RNC ad. The RNC’s seven-figure buy will run nationwide during the All-Star Game on Tuesday.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee will air an ad in Georgia during the Home Run Derby on Monday and the All-Star game on Tuesday. Its ad targets Georgia Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock, who after winning a special runoff in January, will be up for reelection in 2022. The committee ran an ad in April, too, tying Warnock to the relocation of the game and lost revenue for the state. 

“The MLB All-Star Game will be bittersweet for baseball fans in Georgia as they watch a game played in a packed stadium in Denver instead of Atlanta, where it should be. Sadly, it was their very own Senator who helped run the All-Star Game and $100 million out of Atlanta,” said NRSC Chairman and Florida Senator Rick Scott in a statement. 

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the decision to move the All-Star game in April, after discussions with individual players and the Players Alliance, an organization of Black players formed after the death of George Floyd last year. 

“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box,” Manfred wrote in a statement. 

President Biden told ESPN in March he’d “strongly support” moving the game out of Georgia.

The changes to Georgia’s election laws included new ID requirements for absentee voting, expanded early voting opportunities, strict rules on drop boxes and new powers for the state election board. In late-March, Georgia-based corporations Coca-Cola and Delta, as well as CBS News’ parent company ViacomCBS, voiced their opposition to the measure. 

“As the pastor of Ebenezer Church, I’ve seen these corporations falling over themselves every year around the time of the King holiday, celebrating Dr. King. I think that the way to celebrate Dr. King is to stand up for what he represented: voting rights,” Senator Warnock told CNN in March. 

Warnock said in a press release after the move was announced that it was his “hope that businesses, athletes, and entertainers can protest this law not by leaving Georgia but by coming here and fighting voter suppression head on, and hand-in-hand with the community.”

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a Democrat, was unhappy about the move and told CBS This Morning in April while she respected the decision, “I don’t like the fact that we have been put in this position by our state legislature and our governor because the people of Georgia will suffer.”

“I’m absolutely concerned that this will backfire,” Bottoms added. 

The last time Denver hosted the MLB All-Star Game was in 1998. Hancock and Polis told CBS Denver during their conversations with the MLB that everything but politics was discussed.

“They never asked about elections. They wanted to avoid politics as best as they could,” Hancock told CBS Denver.