YouTube and a hot state Senate race in south Georgia

Think of Mark Hatfield of Waycross as the bad boy of the state Legislature. He supplies more than his share of “no” votes and, contrary to the wishes of House Speaker David Ralston, favors a gift cap for state lawmakers.

In 2011, Hatfield sponsored legislation to require President Barack Obama to supply his birth certificate – and pushed it even after House leaders asked him to back off. When that effort failed, he served as attorney for a group that mounted an unsuccessful challenge to Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s decision to give Obama the sole and solitary position on the Democratic presidential primary ballot this last March.

He isn’t a popular guy inside the state Capitol. But outside, he’s a tea party favorite.

Still, it surprised no one when House Republican leaders placed Hatfield and Jason Spencer of Woodbine – both Republicans – in the same district so that, on July 31, one could knock off the other. Hatfield’s reaction? He jumped into the District 7 state Senate race within hours of Greg Goggans’ decision not to seek re-election.

Hatfield had raised $40,901 for the GOP contest as of June 30, compared to $107,475 raised by 26-year-old Tyler Harper. So Hatfield has tried to even things up with a highly detailed YouTube clip – the state lawmaker serves as his own narrator — that does many things:

First, the video ties Harper to a Bloomberg report, published last February, on white businesses that tapped more than $1 billion in preferential federal contracts by creating minority fronts. Among the individuals cited were “two Ocilla, Ga., modular-building sales companies that had different minority owners with the same white managers:”

They supplied Army barracks and temporary shelter to Hurricane Katrina victims among others.

Roscoe Allen Jr., a disabled black former Marine, is listed with the Georgia Secretary of State as chief executive officer of Roscoe Allen Co., which obtained $81.4 million in business for the disadvantaged from 1999 through 2008, out of total government business of $105 million, U.S. records show.

“I don’t know nothing about $100 million of business, I don’t,” Allen, 52, said in a telephone interview.

Allen’s former financial manager, D.W. Harper, and former general manager, Walter Harper, both white, declined to comment for this story. Decade-old snapshots of Allen’s website identify the men’s relationship with the former Marine, who confirmed it.

Harper and Hudson are also identified as officers or employees of Hispanic-owned Marteen Inc., a current SBA program participant at the same address, according to state and federal records. Martin Hurtado, who is listed with the secretary of state as chief executive officer, couldn’t be reached during a reporter’s visit to the property or via repeated phone calls over two months.

Secondly, Hatfield also allows the introduction of the “birther” issue into the video, but does so through Allen, the African-American ex-Marine – who confronts Hatfield at a local NAACP candidate forum. Yet in courtroom terms, Allen’s testimony has already been impeached in the video.

It’s a cagey way to address a volatile topic. The racial imagery in the seven-minute clip is intentional and undeniable.

Hatfield’s closing argument against Tyler:

”In the race for the 7th state Senate district, Tyler Harper says he’ll protect our Christian conservative values in south Georgia. But given Tyler’s close association and involvement with a company that has received multi-millions of dollars in affirmative action contracts from the government over the years, how conservative can Tyler really be.”

Discuss this amongst yourselves — but politely.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

27 comments Add your comment

Peter Lewis

July 23rd, 2012
6:50 pm

That intro music started out sounding like The Rockford Files. Mr. Hatfield – if your bid doesn’t work out there might be work for you as a 1980’s detective show composer/editor. Always a silver lining….


July 23rd, 2012
7:08 pm

this is of great concern to us in Waycross. Jim, thanks for offering some clarifying information.

Karl Rove

July 23rd, 2012
7:16 pm

In this video, Hatfield distorts the truth and lies. This is the normal tactic used by Hatfield. He will twist anything to his advantage. This is the norm for him. Hatfield also has the “Unlicensed Private Investigator” Newton Bates as his backup. Mr. Bates has been under investigation by the State as I understand it. I am sure that Mr. Bates has been helping in this evil web of lies. Finally, to question the Christianity of one is about as low as one can go. Would Hatfield spit in the face of God just to win this race?

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July 23rd, 2012
8:24 pm

hatfield sounds like a typical tea bagging idiot, wild eyed bachmanesque

Auntie Christ

July 23rd, 2012
8:28 pm

Move along, nothing to see here, just a normal republican primary where the choice is between a paranoid birther tea party hack who plans to out bible thump his opponent, versus a knee deep in cronyism, suck at the government teat while denouncing government, south Georgia farmer, who will no doubt fight to keep his and his contemporaries’ gummint subsidies while denouncing the free loading sick, lame and unemployed.

Looks like the deciding factor, like in all red state elections, will come down to who will advocate for the strictest regulatory measures of our wives’ and daughters’ v@ginas.

This is Mrs. Norman Maine

July 23rd, 2012
8:29 pm

1. Well, Mr. Allen was right about the birther issue so……..??
2. Mark Hatfield knows he doesn’t care about the disadvantaged so why does he care about Tyler Harper using one minority as a front for affirmative action? Lying and obfuscating is the Republican way so on that front Mr. Harper is on point.
3. Back to the birther issue, if Mr. Hatfield is really a conservative then why DID he waste taxpayer dollars pursuing a non-issue of the fringe right like the birth certificate. Theoretically, true conservatives are supposed to be good stewards of taxpayer money (although this never happens in reality). So who is he to question Tyler Harper’s conservative credentials?
4. Does it really matter if it’s Harper or Hatfield from Waycross? I mean, really, does it matter? Either way, it’s SSDD.


July 23rd, 2012
8:31 pm

Do not know about the truthfulness of the video but I know that I like Mark. He is a true maverick.

Auntie Christ

July 23rd, 2012
8:33 pm

And once again Jim Galloway and the librul AJC is making the republican party look bad by…by…. well by quoting republicans. centrist, faaaar right, and their brethren are surely going to voice their displeasure at this clear display of bias.

unbiased committee

July 23rd, 2012
8:43 pm

Don’t Vote for the Tea Party Sissy nor the TeaSPLOST.

Auntie Christ

July 23rd, 2012
8:49 pm

karl rove @ 716: “Finally, to question the Christianity of one is about as low as one can go. ”

I do hope you have written to express this sentiment to all those tea bagger types who have incessantly insisted that, despite his assertions he is Christian, Obama is a secret Muslim. I will definitely agree with you, these people are as low as you can get.


July 23rd, 2012
10:44 pm

Same old same old, I’m beginning to believe there isn’t a “real” Christian in this state nor an honest Politician. Republicans lost their right to the name of Conservative when Reagan came into office, who spent like a drunken fool, and Bush Jr. tripled that. If it has the Party affiliation, Republican and Incumbent by their names in the voting booth, vote for the other guy. Rid this state of the cronyism , corruption and just plain meanness this party has demonstrated these last 10 years.


July 23rd, 2012
11:24 pm

July 23rd, 2012
10:44 pm

“Same old same old, I’m beginning to believe there isn’t a “real” Christian in this state nor an honest Politician.”

Honest Politician – sounds like a good name for a band, e.g., Led Zepplin or Iron Butterfly…


July 23rd, 2012
11:36 pm

Anyone who reads the drivel I type knows I’m almost as far Left as you can go.
At the same time, an honest man in the House or Senate is a rare individual these days.
Representative (Senator) Hatfield is one of them, whether I agree with all his positions or not.

From Fitzgerald

July 23rd, 2012
11:43 pm

Meanwhile, the Democratic party out a Marine Corps vet named gene Mitchell. A stark contrast here:

Buckhead Boy

July 24th, 2012
5:09 am

It looks to me like both tenents of the Republican Party are ably represented in the 7th — a mighty contest between gaming the system and gaming the ignorant, and just a micro-redux of the Republican Presidential primaries.

Attack Dog

July 24th, 2012
5:59 am

Finding an honest man in the Georgia House or Senate is rare? It made up mostly of Dixiecrats who now call themselves conservative Republicans to get elected, so what’s the problem? Hatfield is against the intellectually elite even though he is a Phi Beta Kappa. When he’s not selling trailers, Harper he touts that he knows how to meet payroll because he is a farmer.

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July 24th, 2012
8:10 am

Does/did Jay Roberts in Ocilla have anything to do with the trailor business?

Bill Orvis White

July 24th, 2012
8:37 am

I’ll be writing some checks to this patriot. I’m happy to read all about someone who isn’t afraid to stand up for principle and for what’s right. Maybe one day this gentleman will serve as one of Georgia’s U.S. senators and be ready to fight the West Coast liberals who are out to continue Hussein Obama’s/Hairy Reid’s/Nanny Pelosi’s/Bawney Fwank’s damage to this once-free nation.


July 24th, 2012
8:57 am

One can only hope that other candidates will produce videos about their opponents. It could be very entertaining, and might even educate the electorate, if that is possible. A Chip Rogers video in this genre would be a hoot.


July 24th, 2012
9:03 am

Another words, Tyler associates with Black people, don’t vote for him. This guy is an embarassment, makes me want to write Tyler Harper a check myself.


July 24th, 2012
9:43 am

Could’nt Hatfield have made his point here in 120 seconds or less? my opponent, his backer, AA=bad, me=good, so vote for me…Love the silly season.

Auntie Christ

July 24th, 2012
10:08 am

bill o @ 837: this once-free nation.

Gosh bill, when I went to bed last night I was free. Did something happen overnight to make us not free? I’ve checked all the media outlets, none of them have anything about it, are you sure we’re no longer free? Did the gummint set up those death panels sara palin said they would? You’d think pox news would tell us even if those librul media don’t. Maybe you’re imagining things again, bill. Maybe you need help, bill.


July 24th, 2012
11:39 am

There is another choice in this race, Dr. Rodney Vickers, of Douglas, GA. Vickers is a true statesman who refuses to take contributions. He has studied the issues and offered detailed explanations of his stance on those issues–not generalized statements like: I am a farmer or I am a member of the NRA. I, too, would like to know if Jay Roberts is involved with the Harpers’ in their tax payer scam businesses. Unfortunately, Harper, who has the most money, will probably win. I do applaud Hatfield for exposing this.


July 24th, 2012
11:56 am

Hatfield’s ad came across as, Mr. Harper should be punished for associating with a person of a another race. This is extremely troubling to see happen. More telling is that Hatfield has turned off all comments and ratings for the ad.

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