Mark Twain is alleged to have declared that ignorance rarely is the culprit in tough spots. What gets us in trouble is the stuff we do know for certain — that just ain’t so.
Late Friday, going into the final weekend before Tuesday’s vote, a complaint was filed before the State Ethics Commission, alleging that – several years ago — Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle had an affair with his campaign manager and paid her $181,000 in campaign funds to hush the relationship up.
The complaint was filed by Ray Boyd, the real estate executive who attempted to join the GOP race for governor this spring – armed with $2 million of his own cash. He was refused, because he declined to sign a loyalty oath to the party.
Boyd [said] Friday that he does not have any proof of the affair as he describes it in his official complaint to the state, but “I kept stumbling across this rumor, as everybody called it. Only it wasn’t a rumor like most rumors, it was the same story, exactly” every time he heard it.
This is no stone cast at 11Alive. We reported our own version of Boyd’s charges. The point is that repeated rumors placed in the official record four days before an election should be taken as exactly that. No matter how often they’ve been told and retold.
The story that Boyd has heard – as have many others – is that a state-paid secretary walked in on Cagle and the young lady sometime after he beat Ralph Reed in the 2006 Republican contest for lieutenant governor.
Cagle, facing a rival who had quiet connections to the Indian gambling industry, campaigned on the theme that character is something you do when no one is looking. That alone would make the Boyd allegation worth considering – if any of the three parties had ever hinted that it was true.
They have not. Nor has any corroborating evidence surfaced.
The Senate staff secretary says Boyd offered her cash to confirm the account. He says he did not.
The closest that Boyd comes to proof is his allegation that the campaign manager was overpaid. But subtract a $25,000 win bonus from a campaign that won national attention, and the payment becomes a $78,000 per year salary over two years. Perhaps on the high side, but given that the Cagle campaign was a challenge to one of the most popular names in national Republican politics, not necessarily inexplicable.
The Boyd allegation came just before the final event of the campaign, a 30-minute debate Sunday night on Georgia Public Broadcasting. Dan Barber, the Libertarian candidate, had declared that he would question Cagle about the topic. He did not.
Possibly because the lieutenant governor’s wife and three very grown sons were in the small television audience.
The topic was left to Tom Baxter of InsiderAdvantage and the Southern Political Report, who asked Cagle if he blamed his Democratic rival, Carol Porter, for the filing of the ethics complaint.
Significantly, Cagle did not. Here’s what the lieutenant governor said:
”It’s very disturbing. I’ll be very candid with you. It’s extremely disturbing. And I’m very frustrated that this individual brought an ethics filing that has no credibility whatsoever. I think enough has been said about it. Is it hurtful? It sure is hurtful. It’s hurtful for my wife, who’s sitting in the audience. It’s hurtful for my three boys who sit there as well.
“And there’s no place for this kind of activity that’s politically motivated with no evidence and no facts behind it.”
Just as significantly, Porter, co-owner of a newspaper in Dublin, Ga., denied any involvement in the matter:
”Absolutely not. I had no idea Ray Boyd was going to file an ethics complaint against the lieutenant governor. I had never met Ray Boyd until he came by to endorse me because he really doesn’t like the lieutenant governor. But I had no knowledge whatsoever.
“I have refused to talk on any of that stuff the entire campaign. I will not talk on it. It’s a dead subject. And I asked my friends on Facebook not to forward any of the information about it.”
The substance of the allegation was left unsaid during the debate — and a newcomer to the argument would have been left scratching his head about the whole thing.
With Republicans likely to take control of the U.S. House on Tuesday, many have wondered about areas for compromise when it comes to jobs and the federal budget.
U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, a Republican from Coweta County, had a suggestion this weekend: Federal cash is needed to dredge the Port of Savannah, and rebuild highways leading to it.
This expansion will increase the freight capacity of the port of Savannah by 20 percent, all the while creating 10,800 new jobs and $242 million in additional income for employees. Some federal investment in this project would provide a significant return for the American taxpayer while bringing one of our country’s top ports into the next generation of ocean commerce.
Another area in which the president can work with Republicans is on expanding our roadway system. More than 70 percent of all freight in this country is transported on our roadways, meaning traffic congestion along some of our most crowded roads can result in delays to consumers and additional costs for the freight industry across the country.
U.S. Rep. John Lewis’ people say the video below will be used in GOTV efforts by Democrats in competitive races across the country — “competitive” being the key word:
Secretary of State Brian Kemp objected to the wording of an Insider post Sunday, stating that he had ruled that tea party enthusiasts could not wear their T-shirts, hats and buttons to the polls on Tuesday.
Your October 31 post on the AJC Political Insider is an extremely inaccurate description of my office’s application of election law. On Friday, October 29, my office’s Elections Division conducted a statewide web conference with elections officials in each Georgia county to remind them of their primary requirements regarding election administration and reporting of results, election law regarding the main issues they are most likely to encounter on Election Day, and to address any questions or concerns as they make final Election Day preparations.
During the conference we reminded county officials, as we always do prior to a statewide primary or general election, that state law prohibits voters or anyone else in a polling place from wearing any clothing or paraphernalia related to any candidate, political party or organization or any political issue. This is certainly not a new ruling meant to single out any particular organization, but a reminder to the counties of longstanding election law. In fact, the Secretary of State’s office has addressed similar issues in previous elections, including, for example, the 2008 general election. In 2008, county election offices and this office received reports of individuals wearing t-shirts depicting then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and other paraphernalia with pro-Obama campaign slogans. The voters were informed of the law and that they would have to remove the paraphernalia or turn their shirt inside-out if they chose to remain in the polling place.
The obvious reason for this law is to maintain the sanctity of the polling place as an area where Georgia voters can cast their ballots free from intimidation, harassment and electioneering. As Georgia’s Chief Elections Officer, my role is to maintain a secure, accessible and fair election process for every voter, and this is a responsibility I take very seriously. I will enforce the laws of this state equally and fairly, and every citizen, every political party, every political group, and every voter will be treated the same.
If any voter believes they are being treated unfairly at their precinct on Election Day, or if they witness a potential election law violation, I ask them to immediately contact the poll manager on duty, their county election supervisor, and the Secretary of State’s Stop Vote Fraud Hotline at 877-725-9797.
All that said, Matt Carrothers, a spokesman for the secretary of state, affirmed that tea party members would not be permitted to wear their T-shirts, hats or buttons to the polls on Tuesday.
One state House race that may bear watching on Tuesday is the contest between Democratic incumbent Pat Dooley and Republican challenger Sam Teasley.
Last week, Georgia’s WIN List – a fund for Democratic women – declared that Dooley’s District 38 seat had become the No. 1 pick-up target for House Republicans — and asked supporters to pony up an additional $10,000 for get-out-the-vote efforts.
Teasley has his own complaints – primarily this Democratic flyer that says he raised taxes. He is not the incumbent, the real estate agent helpfully points out. The “and” does not apply.
Remember: Whether you’re Democrat or Republican, without proper grammar — you’re all lost.