If you’re a Georgia Democrat, you no doubt feel a bit beleaguered in this anti-Obama season.
But this might cheer you up: Your team has developed an excellent database research system when it comes to backgrounding Republican candidates for the Legislature.
Last month, Democrats distributed documents showing that Republican Jason Shepherd, running against state Rep. Terry Johnson, D-Marietta, had once been arrested for domestic violence. The Cobb County charge was dismissed after he completed a diversion program.
This week, Democratic attention moved to House District 19, the snake-bit seat once held by Speaker Glenn Richardson of Hiram, who resigned amid scandal last year. He was replaced, in a special election, by Republican Daniel Stout.
But Stout lost a July primary after voters found out that, in a previous marriage and as a young man, he had confessed to once having had an improper dalliance with his mother-in-law.
The winner of the July primary was Paulette Rakestraw Braddock of Hiram, president and CEO of a Paulding County direct marketing firm. She faces Democrat Will Avery of Dallas, a teacher.
In 1999, as Paulette Rakestraw, Braddock was arrested on one count of fraud, for allegedly submitting $1,724 in falsified receipts to her insurance company. The Cobb County charge was dismissed after she completed a six-month diversion program.
“We had lightning damage to our home,” Braddock said Thursday. “The company didn’t want to pay the claim. They contended the receipts weren’t valid. Basically, it was a trumped-up charge.”
But Braddock said she lacked the cash to fight it in court. “It was easier to just go through the program and not fight it, because it would have cost me a bunch of money to fight it. So I didn’t,” she said.
In February 2003, in the midst of a divorce – again as Paulette Rakestraw — Braddock was arrested on a charge of simple battery, filed by the man who would soon become her ex. From the incident report filed by the arresting officer:
”Complainant states this morning while asleep on the sofa, his wife took a scissor and cut a big “gash” out of his hair, stated he got up and she demanded her cell phone so she could go to work. He asked why she cut his hair and she scratched his arm attempting to obtain her cell phone. I observed scratches to right wrist and a “gash” in head.
The charge was dropped as part of the divorce.
Braddock’s firm, Atlanta Marketing Solutions, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2007, but is now out of it now. That info had been aired in 2008, when Braddock was ousted as a member of the Paulding County school board.
Said Braddock about all of the above:
”All of this is just typical mudslinging. I’m a tea party conservative and want to bring jobs to Georgia and solve some of the problems we have. And I think it’s typical of what happens when people can’t stand on the issues. They decide to do character assassination.”
The Insider asked Braddock whether she had informed GOP officials of her background. Said she:
”I told them about the bankruptcy. I had forgotten about the other issues – because they were dismissed as if they never happened. I could have had it expunged from my record, but I had forgotten about it.”
Note to House and Senate Republican caucuses: It might be time to routinely schedule come-to-Jesus meetings with all prospective candidates for the Legislature.
According to a key Republican in Washington, the mere fact that Democrats are shipping funds to U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, is a sign of panic. From CQ Politics:
National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas) said Thursday that he believes the depth of House Democrats’ panic can be measured this week by their decision to spend money defending Rep. Sanford D. Bishop Jr. (D) in his southwest Georgia district.
In a phone interview from the campaign trail after a stop in Georgia Wednesday evening, Sessions said that it’s telling that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has had to spend money on “African Americans like Sanford Bishop. And when you have to retreat back to … your hard base you’re having to make tough decisions.”
Bishop is the only member of the Congressional Black Caucus that is currently benefitting from ads by the DCCC. The committee has spent just more than $142,000 in Georgia’s 2nd district, mostly on ads attacking Bishop’s GOP challenger, state Rep. Mike Keown.
On Thursday, a Rasmussen Reports poll had Democrat Roy Barnes trailing Republican Nathan Deal by 41 to 50 percent in the race for governor.
But the Barnes campaign is taking some solace in this bit of Rassmussen info that indicates a certain softness in Deal’s support:
Eighty-one percent (81%) of Barnes voters are already certain how they will vote next month, as are 86% of Monds supporters. Just 68% of those who back Deal say they’ve already made up their minds.
Politifact Georgia today looks at a robocall from the GOP campaign of state Rep. Jill Chambers of Atlanta, accusing Democratic opponent Elena Parent of financing much of her campaign with money intended for school children. She wins a pants-on-fire rating.
An Insider column on Thursday was devoted to shift of Republican power to north Georgia. Both Nathan Deal and Casey Cagle call Gainesville home. House Speaker David Ralston is from Blue Ridge.
At the Athens Banner-Herald, Blake Aued continued the theme:
Assuming no Democrat pulls off an upset – a fair assumption in our maroon state – here’s where all of the statewide [Republican] elected officials on the ballot this year are from:
– Sen. Johnny Isakson – Marietta.
– Secretary of State Brian Kemp – Athens.
– Attorney General, Sam Olens – Marietta.
–School Superintendent, John Barge – Cartersville
– Insurance Commissioner, Ralph Hudgens – Madison County.
– Agriculture Commissioner, Gary Black — Jackson County.
– Labor Commissioner, Mark Butler – Carrollton.
Notice any pattern here?
All of them are from North Georgia. And seven of the 10 are from outside of metro Atlanta.