With one week to go, we’re getting down to campaign basics. And in the South, that means a healthy dose of racial innuendo.
A mailer from John Barge, the Republican candidate for state school superintendent, arrived at the house on Monday. On its cover was a photograph of his Democratic rival, Joe Martin, and President Barack Obama.
Other than the headline, which you can see here, the flyer makes no mention of Obama. The other three pages of the flyer are devoted to Martin’s lack of classroom experience – a legitimate issue worthy of debate. (Martin, who is not a lawyer, was a longtime member of the Atlanta school board.)
“It is what it is. It’s certainly a distraction,” Martin said in a phone conversation. Attempts to obtain comment from the state GOP, which paid for the flyer, were unsuccessful.
The GOTV message includes sound clips of Republican nominee for governor Nathan Deal speaking of “ghetto grandmothers,” bragging about his opposition to the Voting Rights Act, and a denial that he has any idea where Obama was born.
My AJC colleague Aaron Sheinin has come across the same sound clip, which includes the notation that the 30-second spot is paid for by the Barnes campaign.
Also from the mailbox: Don’t let Democrat Roy Barnes or Republican Nathan Deal tell you that this argument over a rape shield law in the 1980s doesn’t mean anything. Both candidates for governor have sent out mailers elaborating on the issue.
The Deal flyer relies almost solely on quotes from a column by AJC opinion columnist Jay Bookman, who called Barnes’ treatment of the topic “exploitive” and “grossly unfair.” It makes no use of a Politifact Georgia article that found some substance to Barnes’ charges.
The Barnes flyer features contemporary news articles from the fight – and a photograph of a sheriff’s deputy holding a ticket clipboard – with a “W ‘04” sticker on the back. How’s that for subliminal?
Hours after an 11Alive/V-103/WMAZ poll conducted by SurveyUSA showed Georgia’s race for governor might not reach a conclusion next week, a second survey hit the Internet – showing almost exactly the same stats:
A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in the state finds Deal earning 49% of the vote to Barnes’ 39%. Libertarian candidate John Monds is a distant third, picking up just five percent (5%) support. Another five percent (5%) prefer some other candidate, while one percent (1%) are undecided….
Even so, Rasmussen moved the race from “leans Republican” to “solid Republican.”
Members of the Atlanta Tea Party will be rallying at 6:30 p.m. this evening outside the chambers of the Gwinnett County Commission, to encourage the resignation of Commissioner Kevin Kenerly, who was indicted last week on bribery and other charges.
Henry County wants two Republican state lawmakers to return federal stimulus money. From CBS Atlanta:
Henry County has given state Rep. Steve Davis seven days to pay more than $25,000 it said he owes the county.
As part of the Economic Recovery Act of 2008, the federal government awarded Henry County more than $6 million to combat home foreclosures by buying, renovating and selling them at bargain prices. One of the stipulations however was government officials could not profit from the program.
Henry County said late last year it discovered a problem with two companies it hired.
“When we looked through some of the contracts, noticed some signature that we felt might pose a conflict of interest,” said Henry County spokesperson Julie Hoover-Ernest.
Hoover-Ernest said the county contacted the federal government for clarification.
“Ultimately they did come back and said that there was a conflict of interest, and they weren’t going to reimburse us for the money,” she said.
The county said the conflict involves a company owned by Davis and a second company that employs state Rep. John Lunsford. Hoover-Ernest said the companies were awarded a total of about $40,000 that must be repaid.
“John Lunsford said he will reimburse us the money, but Davis aid he will not,” Hoover-Ernest said.
Late Monday afternoon, Davis released a statement to CBS Atlanta.
“These are politically motivated accusations which are designed to confuse and distract voters from the real issues we have been working on: creating jobs in Henry County, educating our children, and improving our region’s transportation system. We are reviewing the documents closely and will respond appropriately however we believe that we have fully complied with the law, and will of course continue to do that.”
The AJC’s Politifact Georgia takes on the race for state labor commissioner today, examining charges from Republican Mark Butler that his Democratic rival, Darryl Hicks, has violated the state’s ethics laws several times.
During a Sunday debate aired statewide on Georgia Public Television, state Sen. Ralph Hudgens, R-Hull, a candidate for insurance commissioner, was quite open about his relationship with lobbyists for the insurance industry.
Democrat Mary Squires takes him to task for that candor with the TV spot below:
In Georgia congressional races, most eyes will be on a Tift County judge who this morning will hold a hearing on whether Republican Austin Scott, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall, D-Macon, can keep papers from his 2001 divorce sealed.
Scott’s 11-year-old son on Monday served notice that he wants a say in the matter.
Meanwhile, the National Republican Congressional Committee unleashed two more TV ads in south Georgia – one against Marshall and another against U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, who faces a strong challenge from state Rep. Mike Keown.
The anti-Marshall ad:
The anti-Bishop ad: