The first sharp, negative attack of the Atlanta mayoral race hit the mailboxes of voters on Thursday, declaring front-runner Mary Norwood’s Republican past to be “the elephant in the room.”
The flyer, paid for by the state Democratic party, urged voters: ”Vote for Kasim Reed. Vote for Lisa Borders. Vote for Reuben McDaniel.”
Reed and Borders, of course, are mayoral candidates trailing Norwood in the polls. McDaniel is a fresh candidate for the Atlanta school board, apparently added to give the flyer a multi-race dimension required by campaign finance laws governing the Democratic party’s unusual decision to enter the contest.
The dominant image of the mailer can be seen above. Download the entire piece here.
Text includes the following:
Norwood’s campaign is financed by the same Republican money men who funded John McCain’s hate-filled campaign against Barack Obama, and who have given to George Bush, the Republican National Committee, Sonny Perdue and the Georgia Republican Party.
Her television ads try to hide the real facts, but since 1992 Norwood has voted for Republican candidates 70 percent of the time. She was even a delegate to the Republican convention. We can’t trust her as mayor.
Norwood opposed putting police and firefighters back on the streets to protect our community – she didn’t think we could afford it. But she had no problem spending $106,445 from a city council slush fund.
Democratic chairman Jane Kidd said the party had entered the race because Norwood was being duplicitous about her loyalties. After a Sunday debate, a reporter asked Norwood if she had voted for President George W. Bush. Norwood said she couldn’t remember — though a day later an aide said she had not.
The response of the Norwood campaign to the Democratic attack was quick and heavy.
In a TV ad that begins airing today, Norwood acknowledges her attendance at a state GOP convention in 1999 as a delegate, but “disliked it so much” she’s never been to another. “I believe in President Obama’s call for change and accountability,” Norwood says.
See the ad here:
Roman Levit, campaign manager for Norwood, said the “slush fund” spending cited by the Democratic flyer were Norwood’s legitimate expenses “to communicate with constituents.”
And as to the campaign contributions from GOP givers, Levit said “both Lisa Borders and Kasim Reed have collected donations from people who have given money to Republicans including, someone who served as former senator [and 2008 presidential candidate] Fred Thompson’s finance chair and raised Lisa over $250,000 in one fell swoop.”
“Before making false accusations, and authorizing expenditures without executive committee approval, maybe Ms. Kidd should have checked the voter file first and we would have all been spared these false attacks,” said Levit, a former state Democratic party staffer.
The Norwood campaign manager also provided this screen-shot below, which he says came from the “VoteBuilder” program used by the state and national Democratic parties to identify sympathetic voters. It scores Norwood as two-thirds Democratic and one-third Republican — or leaning Democrat:
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