The first reaction to today’s column about Ray McBerry and his relationship with a 16-year-old girl comes from fellow Republican candidate for governor Karen Handel.
Said Handel spokesman Dan McLagan:
“Karen is very uncomfortable appearing onstage with Mr. McBerry and is perplexed that GOP groups continue to invite him to events.
“He clearly does not represent the values of the Republican Party or of Georgians in general and Karen will take the lead in saying this — even if other Republican leaders do not.
“The fact that he continues to campaign as if none of these revelations has occurred is disturbing and unsettling.”
Then there’s John Watson, immediate past finance chairman of the state GOP and former chief of staff for Gov. Sonny Perdue. Watson agrees that state Republican officials had no choice but to allow McBerry qualify this week.
But that doesn’t completely tie their hands said Watson, the father of two daughters:
“It’s a free country, and if the guy wants to put his money down, I don’t see how we can necessarily block him.
“But we ought to stand up – and party leadership ought to stand up and say, ‘This guy has no business running as a Republican. We’re disgusted by him. We think he’s an outrage. We call on all local parties, if he’s been invited to a gubernatorial candidate forum, you ought to rescind that invitation.’
“We ought to say, ‘Withdraw from this race.’ Somebody in leadership at the party ought to be saying that.
“And we ought to be taking the $4,000 bucks that the party took [from McBerry for qualifying] and we ought to give it to the family and the child that was molested by this guy.
“The facts are as clear as my big nose on my face. And I believe it’s the responsibility of party officials, state and local, to say no to this guy.”
Meanwhile, on Thursday night, McBerry won a straw poll at a gubernatorial forum in LaGrange that also featured Nathan Deal, Karen Handel, Eric Johnson, and John Oxendine.
The results, as posted at LaGrangePatriots.org:
Ray McBerry – 152 (57%)
Eric Johnson – 47 (18%)
Nathan Deal – 29 (11%)
Karen Handel – 20 (7%)
John Oxendine – 19 (7%)
Said McBerry in a press release:
“[I]n spite of the many lies and personal attacks that have been hurled against me in this race by liberal elements of the media, it is encouraging to know that my fellow Georgians are excited that they have a true champion of states’ rights running for governor this year, someone who will stand up for their liberties and is not going to back down.”
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