SD 50 attacks continue, peg BS meter

Paul Rea at NewsTalk 810 in Royston is following the shenanigans in SD 50 like it’s his job. Well, I guess it is, but it’s just a hobby for most of us here.

Yesterday, the Truth Test (TM) found that John Wilkinson’s mailing hitting back against anonymous mailings had some truthiness problems when it came to attacking Rick Austin on legalizing gambling.

The Truth Test finds fault with the claim that Rick Austin has “voted with the gambling industry and recently confirmed his position” in an October Survey.

While it is true that legislative voting records show Rick Austin voted “yes” to create a committee to study gamblingas a potential income source for the state, in the original Eagle Survey he said he was undecided on the issue, on the revised survey published this week he says he is opposed to the idea for which he voted.

Both the “Undecided” and “Opposed” answers in no way “confirm” his position. If anything, it confuses his position on the issue completely.

The other gambling issue, the bit about “allow local referendums on horse racing”, Austin reported he was for it on the original survey but against it on the revised version. Take that for what it’s worth.

Rea didn’t conclude that Wilkinson presented false factual information about Rick Austin, but did present misleading characterizations:

We find many of the facts presented are true but the conclusions drawn sometimes stretch credulity to the point of being misleading.

While this mailer is less deceptive than every other piece we’ve looked at during this campaign, in the end, it just misses the mark and fails our Truth Test.

And today, Rea brings news of misleading robocalls attacking Wilkinson.

Voters in the 50th State Senate District were hit by phone at home yesterday by two automatic campaign calls, robo-calls, again from an anonymous source.

The first came just after 2:30 pm. A bad Bill Clinton impersonator claimed he was calling from “democrats for action” with an urgent plea to vote for John Wilkinson because he was only running as a Republican “ cause the district is so conservative.”

There is no such campaign committee or group on record with the Ethics Board. There used to be a non-profit by that name registered in the 1990s but the Secretary of State’s office reports they were dissolved in 1999.

The second call began hitting homes about an hour later. This one featured a woman claiming to be from “Conservatives United” and referenced the early call. “The Democrats sent out a robo-call just hours ago finally confirming the truth…” then they repeated the false claim that John Wilkinson is a democrat that we heard in the earlier call and saw on those mailers sent from Lewis Bailey’s address in Young Harris earlier in the week.

Again, there is no such campaign committee or group on record with the Ethics Board and no such entity registered with the Secretary of State’s office.

The phone number of the first call, 404-567-5455, traces to Sandy Springs in Atlanta but we’ve been unable to track it any further.

To hear the actual robocalls, head over to News Talk 810’s Facebook page.


  1. debbie0040 says:

    Atlanta Tea Party sent out an email encouraging people to support Mike Crane and Rick Austin. We need state senators that believe in upholding the Georgia Constitution…

    • Doug Grammer says:

      I think it’s worth discussing. Rep. Austin posted on here (and said he stated elsewhere) that he didn’t support anonymous attacks. This mailer states that Rick supports them. It looks fine to call him a flip flopper on gambling, however, it looks to be an outright lie stating that “Rick Austin and mysterious insiders” sent out the anonymous mailers. Unless Rick lied to us. I will let the voters in that district decide.

      Really? Complaining that he has yard signs up? Really?

      • Todd Rehm says:


        There are several reasons.

        First is that it’s an interesting political controversy in a time when it’s hard to find political stuff to write about here.

        Second is that I think Paul Rea’s doing a great job with this, and I think folks here will find it interesting. I wish more in the media would do this kind of extensive coverage of local politics.

        Third is that I’ve devoted my adult life and my career to electoral politics in Georgia and I am offended at this. I believe in our political system and that it produces the best results of any political system we’ve tried so far. And this kind of crap is a disservice to the voters and to those of us who believe in campaigns and elections. It dishonors our state and makes the Georgia Senate look like a tawdry telenovella.

        Finally, I can’t go on any of the car websites where I like to talk about cars because of the tragic wreck in Japan that claimed eight Ferraris. Makes me cry and they won’t stop talking about it. For the record, I’m certain the Prius did it. How else do you explain the otherwise complete absence of Japanese cars in a 14-car pileup in Japan.

  2. 22bons says:

    Thanks for documenting all of this Todd. It is unfortunate that elections are driven by this kind of nonsense and shining a light on it is a public service.

    • NoTeabagging says:

      Thanks Todd for the tawdry tabloid expose. Unfortunately, the media will never report on such vile tactics because their business is, after all, advertising.

      It is unfortunate that during the season of giving and forgiveness we the good folks in SD5o are inundated with this crap. Nice to know the good politicians are keeping up the grand tradition, so well played during our 2010 campaign cycle, of hateful smear campaigns. I truly hope one day enough voters will strike back at the campaign offices with calls, letters, faxes, emails, twits, or whatever letting our politicians know we are tired of this crap and aren’t going to fund these campaigns or vote for them.

      Can’t politicians just come up with one good reason we should vote for them and promote that?

  3. Rick A. says:

    Greetings All,

    As I have stated before, my campaign had nothing to do with any anonymous mailers or robo calls. I’ll also remind you that I worked for, supported, and voted for SB 163 which would have made anonymous campaigning a thing of the past. That Bill passed both the House and Senate, only to be eventually vetoed. Had the Gov not vetoed that Bill (and I’m sure he had his legitimate reasons), this campaign would have been far more pleasant for all involved…especially the voters. Any way you cut it, we are done after 7:00 pm this evening.

    All the Best to you all and I hope each one you you and your family have a very Merry Christmas!!!


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