The other night during the Georgia Attorney General debate, Preston Smith made an allegation that Sam Olens was once the Treasurer of the Cobb County Democratic Party and supported President Clinton. There was a dispute as to this, and Smith produced a newspaper article from the early nineties as his evidence. You can watch a clip of this here.
Smith referenced a Feb. 25, 1992, article in the MDJ by Joe Kirby titled “Clinton garners support from county Democrats.”
The article reports how then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton was endorsed that week in his presidential bid by most high-ranking Cobb Democrats. The article lists members of the Cobb Chapter of the Clinton for President Committee, describing Olens as a member, as well as the treasurer of the Cobb Democratic Party.
Yet Olens told the Journal he was not on any committee to help elect Clinton, nor did he contribute to his campaign.
“As a young attorney, I considered myself an independent and sometimes voted Democrat. As I matured, I realized the Republican Party much better represented my values and beliefs,” Olens said.
Olens said his Republican credentials are clear, having been an elected Republican for 12 years with a proven conservative record, endorsed by more than 150 elected Republicans statewide.
“We need to keep in mind that even Ronald Reagan was once a Democrat,” Olens said. “Our first Republican governor of Georgia was once a Democrat. And two of the leading Republican candidates for governor were once Democrats. I am proud of my record as an elected official and the voters would be better served if we would remain focused on the issues facing Georgia.”
And so it goes. I have a number of problems with Olens’ response. Either you were or you weren’t – just go with it. In my mind it does not really matter. This state use to be a Democratic state. Mike Bowers was a Democrat at one point. If you were a Democrat once, that is fine – as you said Reagan was too.
But our first Republican Governor was Rufus B. Bullock – and unless my memory is failing me, he wasn’t a Democrat.