Screenshot: Loeffler campaign ad

Sen. Kelly Loeffler's (R-Ga.) re-election campaign is trying to come from behind by tying her top competitor, Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), to Democrat Stacey Abrams, who has been floated as Joe Biden's potential running mate, in a new six-figure ad campaign.

Why it matters: While Abrams is a popular figure among Democrats nationally as well as in Georgia, Loeffler is betting Abrams will be a lightning rod for the Republican contest.

The new ad, which labels Collins as a "fake conservative," is the first negative ad Loeffler's campaign has launched against Collins. Loeffler campaign spokesperson Stephen Lawson told Axios that it is "a precursor of things to come."

  • "I think you'll see a steady barrage of attacks over the coming weeks and months highlighting his failed record as a career politician and fake conservative with ties to liberal Democrats like Stacey Abrams," Lawson said.
  • The ad will run statewide on multiple advertising channels including Verizon, Facebook, and YouTube.

The big picture: Loeffler, who Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp appointed in December to fill former Sen. Johnny Isakson's seat, faces an uphill re-election fight against Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee during impeachment and a loyal defender of President Trump.

  • Recent polling shows Loeffler trailing Collins by wide margins.
  • Loeffler has recently faced intense backlash for purchasing and selling roughly $1.4 million in stock just before the market crashed in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Last month, Loeffler's campaign announced that she and her husband Jeffrey Sprecher — the CEO of Intercontinental Exchange, which owns the New York Stock Exchange — were liquidating their stock portfolio in response to the uproar.
  • Collins has criticized Loeffler for "profiting" off the pandemic.

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Trump campaign launches massive digital ad buy for convention week

Screengrab from Trump campaign ad

The Trump campaign is going all in on digital advertising for the Republican National Convention, with plans to again take over the YouTube masthead and flood Facebook, Google and streaming services like Hulu with pro-Trump messaging.

The big picture: The massive digital ad buy — which is in the high seven figures, according to the campaign — will complement the Trumpian production planned for each night of the convention this week.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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U.S. nutritional supplements retailer takes first step to sell to China’s Harbin Pharma

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

GNC Holdings, the Pittsburgh-based nutritional supplements retailer, received bankruptcy court approval to sell itself to China’s Harbin Pharma for $770 million, although the deal still faces U.S. political pressures over how GNC customer data is protected.

Why it matters: It's a reminder that the U.S.-China merger mess goes well beyond smartphone apps, with Sen. Marco Rubio asking for a CFIUS review.