Representative Joe Wilson no longer has a monopoly on inappropriate outbursts in public. Apparently, Mrs. Judson Hill was inspired enough by Rep. Wilson that she decided to try it out on her husband’s primary challenger, Lynda Coker, at a recent gathering of the North Fulton Republican Women’s Club. From the Marietta Daily Journal:
Hill and Coker both attended a Nov. 4 forum hosted by the North Fulton Republican Women’s Club in Sandy Springs at which Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel was guest speaker. As is often the case at such events, the speaker invited any public officials in the audience to stand, be recognized and say a few words. When Coker did so and was explaining why she was running, her comments were interrupted by Shelly Hill, the senator’s wife, who yelled, “You’re a liar! That’s a lie!”
Coker, who is a popular former Republican state legislator and is the chief deputy in the Cobb Sheriff’s Department, responded that she was telling the truth and was sorry Ms. Hill felt that as she did, and then went on with her comments. She said that when she approached Ms. Hill after the event, the incumbent’s wife recoiled with the words, “Don’t touch me!” and again accused Coker of lying.
“I have never been so personally offended in all my years in public service,” Coker said.
Hill explained to AT this week that his wife’s words at the event were “an emotional outburst. She didn’t think Lynda was telling the truth, and I don’t either.”
The dispute is over whether Senator Hill was ever a candidate for Attorney General, and thus, had left the expectation that there would be an open seat. While Hill announced his intention to forego the Attorney General’s race after Sam Olens entered that race on April 28th, he was introduced by Senator Chip Rogers at the 6th district convention as “Georgia’s next Attorney General”, told at least one other candidate during the 9th District Dinner that he was running, and was announced to the 7th District Convention that he would be addressing them as a candidate for Attorney General, though that convention ended before Hill arrived.
Now, however, Hill claims he never made his intentions public.
(Sen. Hill) admits that he considered “for about 10 days” whether to run for the GOP nomination for state attorney general. “I looked at it and talked to people,” but the Mercer Law School grad didn’t file any papers or make any public announcements, he told AT this week.
Corker remains non-plussed. Moreover, her boss and powerful politico in his own right, Cobb Sheriff Neil Warren backs Corker’s verson in this dispute:
“Regardless of whether Judson made a firm commitment to run for that office, he certainly flirted with the idea and had discussed it openly,” he said in a statement to AT. “Judson apparently has forgotten, or at least failed to tell his wife, about the conversation he had with me. He told me personally that he was going to run for attorney general regardless of whether Sam Olens decided to enter the race for that office. It is because of discussions such as the one Judson and I had that Lynda and others indicated an interest in running for the District 32 seat.
“Had Judson Hill not stated that he planned to run for another office, Lynda would never have made a commitment to run for that seat. But he did make that statement to me and Lynda Coker made a commitment to run for what she believed would be a vacated Senate seat. Consequently, Lynda is dead on correct when she says that Judson Hill created the situation that lead to her being a candidate in this race.
“Although Judson, as the incumbent, views this as his seat, it does not belong to him. It belongs to the voters of Senate District 32. I know that Lynda is deeply hurt by the attack on her character. The outburst at the North Fulton Republican Women’s luncheon was uncalled for and totally incorrect.”
Corker faces an uphill battle facing a well financed incumbent. In rural counties, however, I would never count out any candidate with the clear backing of the Sheriff. We’ll know in a few months if that same advantage holds true in a large county like Cobb.