The race to fill the 42nd district state senate seat, set in a heavily Democratic area of metro Atlanta, has been a downright polite affair over the past several months. Jason Carter, grandson of former president Jimmy Carter, Decatur lawyer Tom Stubbs, independent Steve Patrick and Libertarian David Montane have avoided any nastiness. Carter and Stubbs, both Democrats and both lawyers, have publicly said they think the other candidate is a nice guy.
But on the Friday before next Tuesday’s special election, things got ugly in the district, which encompasses eastern sections of the city and a large part of DeKalb County including Decatur. Someone – no one has taken responsibility – distributed fliers in the Toco Hills neighborhood that purported to show one of Carter’s donors in a photograph with the late Yasser Arafat, onetime leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and first president of the Palestinian National Authority. The flier linked Carter and his grandfather, who in recent years has condemned Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians.
What’s its importance in a local legislative special election?
Many Jewish people live in the district and many Jews were angered by the elder Carter’s position. The fliers were sent out the day before Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalyn, were set to stump for Jason Carter in East Lake.
“It’s ridiculous,” Carter told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I don’t think it will have any impact on this election one way or another.”
Stubbs issued a statement blasting the flier as “last-minute smear.”
“I condemn this type of anonymous attack,” Stubbs said. “It has nothing to do with the campaign, nor the issues facing the people of Georgia’s 42nd senate district.”
The election is to fill a seat vacated by Sen. David Adelman, who left to become U.S. ambassador to Singapore.