WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Georgia head of the NAACP called on Matt Lieberman, son of former Sen. Joe Lieberman and one of the candidates for a Senate seat in Georgia, to drop out of the race because of a novel the younger Lieberman wrote that contains “racist tropes.”
HuffPost on Friday wrote about Matt Lieberman’s 2018 self-published novel “Lucius.” One of the book’s characters, Benno, believes he once owned an imaginary slave, routinely uses the N-word, and invokes racist stereotypes about Black servility.
“In my personal opinion, this would just exacerbate a tough time for us as a state,” James Woodall, the president of the state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, told HuffPost. “He should drop out of the race.”
Lieberman, a Democrat, is a lawyer and a former principal of a Jewish day school. His father was the first Jew to appear on a major party presidential ticket when he was Al Gore’s running mate in 2000.
He told HuffPost that he wrote the novel after the deadly 2017 neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville as a means of grappling with the persistence of racism.
“However my book is dissected, let me be clear: my heart’s aim was to get people thinking about the centuries-long scourge of slavery and racism and its impact in modern America,” Lieberman said.
Lieberman is running to fill the seat left open by Johnny Isakson, a Republican who retired last year due to illness. The election, to take place on the date of the general election, Nov. 3, is a “jungle primary,” meaning that if no one secures more than 50 percent of the vote, it will advance to a runoff between the top two vote-getters even if they belong to the same party.
Lieberman has at times led in polling but more recent polling has shown two Republicans in the lead: Sen. Kelly Loeffler, named to the interim post by the state’s governor, and Rep. Doug Collins, a favorite of President Donald Trump.
Georgia, traditionally Republican, is seen as moving toward being a swing state. Jon Ossoff, another Jewish Democrat, is the nominee in a separate Senate race against incumbent David Perdue, who got in trouble last month for running an ad that appeared to exaggerate the size of Ossoff’s nose. Perdue met privately this week with Republican Jewish leaders organized by the Republican Jewish Coalition.