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