With a mere two weeks to go before voting concludes, the dirty-trick season is upon us.
Late last night, a reader sent a scan from a glossy mailer she’d received, which attacked Republican state Senate candidate Brandon Beach of Alpharetta, who is challenging Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers of Woodstock.
You can see the mail piece below. It includes two bogus newspaper headlines and this claim: “Paid for by TrafficTruth.net”.
If the sponsorship claim is true, it means that the anti-TSPLOST organization has begun targeting specific candidates on record as supporting the transportation sales tax. Which is an important development.
But here’s the thing: In its most recent, 15-day-out financial disclosure, which can be found here, the organization reports no expenditure that might match the Beach mailer. Moreover, the Transportation Leadership Coalition, which operates the TrafficTruth.net website, reported only $1,254 in cash on hand.
Production costs on a mail piece like the one above can fluctuate, but they’re certain to run more than $1,254. We’ve placed multiple calls to the Transportation Leadership Coalition, but have yet to hear back.
The flip side of the cow mailer, by the way, includes a U.S. Postal Service bulk stamp of “Permit 96″ out of Marietta, Ga. Ring any bells?
On a separate state Senate front, in the Republican District 6 race to challenge Democratic incumbent Doug Stoner of Smyrna, a mysterious and slightly ungrammatical robocall has targeted attorney Josh Belinfante.
It attempts to tie him to the 2010 hospital bed tax approved by the Legislature as part of a complicated budget-balancing act that state lawmakers promise amounted to a tax cut. Belinfante is running against Hunter Hill and Drew Ellenburg.
If a caller picks up the phone, the automated message converts into a push poll. If not, this message is loaded onto the voice mail:
”Hello, you’re receiving this important message because you stand for principles of lower taxes and less government that has made our state great. Josh Belinfante says he opposes Obamacare now that he is a candidate for state Senate. But as chief counsel to former Gov. Sonny Perdue, Belinfante authored and promoted a $225 million health care tax, right here in Georgia, during the recession. Partly as a result of Josh Belinfante’s health care tax, hundreds of job layoffs at a major Atlanta hospital were announced in June 2011. This year, please remember, we don’t need double-dealers on taxes like Josh Belinfante down at the state Capitol.”
No sponsorship of the message is offered. Also note that the “major Atlanta hospital” isn’t identified. The phone number belongs to U.S. Disadvantaged Industries Inc., a telemarketing firm out of Birmingham.
Meanwhile, the LaGrange News reports that Attorney General Sam Olens has been presented with an intimidation complaint against Troup County Sheriff Donny Turner:
Turner, who has been in office for 20 years, is accused of trying to intimidate a former employee who was campaigning for one of Turner’s opponents in the July 31 election. The employee caught the incident on tape.
The newspaper has helpfully posted the audio. The sheriff admits calling the fellow to express his disappointment.
Politico.com reports that Newt Gingrich sent – and then deleted – the following message out on Twitter:
@newtgingrich: I will be on leno wednesday night with Snooki! It should be an interesting evening! I hope she likes zoos and animals!
Video heaven is guaranteed.
In Augusta, WJBF-TV has a smart report on the impact that the Richmond County sheriff’s race – a Democratic affair – could have on the Republican contest to challenge U.S. Rep. John Barrow.
A leaching of GOP votes into the hot local contest could undercut 12th District candidates Wright McLeod and Rick Allen, both of whom consider Augusta their geographic base. Lee Anderson of Grovetown and Maria Sheffield of Dublin would benefit. See it here:
A good story in today’s New York Times on Republican Mitt Romney’s cautious process for selecting a running mate includes this:
The Romney campaign has cloaked its vetting of possible vice-presidential nominees in layers of secrecy, so much so that it is even considering using a decoy — two sets of planes, two rollout locations, for example — to try to keep the selection from leaking out.
The AJC’s Politifact Georgia today takes a look at a statement by Jeff Dickerson, a communications consultant for Citizens for Transportation Mobility, that transit ridership among people age 16 to 34 increased 40 percent between 2001 and 2009.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider