Sheffield Fabricates Endorsement Of 2010 GOP Nominee In Ga-12.

July 28, 2012 19:28 pm

by Charlie · 16 comments

This is Monday’s Courier Herald Column. Because of the time sensitive nature of campaign news, we’re posting it early.

Maria Sheffield’s campaign manager announced via email Friday afternoon an endorsement from Ray McKinney.  He was the GOP’s nominee and Congressman John Barrow’s opponent in 2010.  Getting the endorsement from the party’s former standard bearer is usually big news.  It’s bigger news when the endorsement wasn’t given.

McKinney, via an email to the 12th District GOP Chairman and to the Sheffield campaign, notes that he has not made an endorsement.  Instead, the email distributed by Sheffield’s campaign manager contains portions of an email McKinney sent to various Republicans “earlier this year” on the need to “take this country back”.  It was not an endorsement email.

Maria Sheffield began her campaign for Congress by calling out John Barrow for not living in the 12th Congressional District.  She did so as a resident of Mableton Georgia, over 100 miles from GA-12.  It was the beginning of a campaign that has been great at remaining on a strict script of talking points of TEA Party infused Republican principles, but with little actual record to indicate any level of sincerity to back up the words.

After all, if a candidate will attack an opponent who was drawn out of his district during reapportionment for the location of his residents when she herself is seeking his south Georgia Congressional seat from Atlanta, just two years after running for State Insurance Commissioner and losing, how are we to judge her words as sincere without any record to back them up?  How do we distinguish between a well-intentioned conservative with no record and an opportunist who desires to be a career politician?

What we have are the words of the campaign and we have not only a pattern of deception, but a claim of a key endorsement that is false in its entirety.

On Friday, Sheffield boasted the endorsement of We Are Politics, a political blog based in Macon.  What Sheffield failed to mention is that her consultant, Kat Ballou, is the wife of the blog’s founder, Jeff Breedlove.  Sheffield was also among the blog’s original contributors.  The lack of disclosure of a conflict of interest is a slight sin of omission but part of a strategy of a campaign that routinely uses social media to create a buzz for a campaign where little actually exists.

A much bigger example of Sheffield’s willingness to bend the truth is the campaign’s email claiming the endorsement from 2010 12th District GOP nominee Ray McKinney.  In the email, Sheffield uses the following words:

“If you can’t send $50 to Maria Sheffield will you commit to making 50 phone calls on her behalf or “LIKE” her on Facebook and invite all your Facebook friends to “LIKE” her, will you follow Maria on Twitter, will you volunteer at an event with Maria, will you campaign with her in your community?

“I am going to and I need you to do so as well.

“Instead of wanting the government to pass another law to do our job, what I am asking, no, begging you to do is fight for our America by electing Maria Sheffield – a true conservative to Congress.

Will you send Maria a Conservative Victory Donation today?”

These words did not come from McKinney.  Some sentences are completely new.  Others replaced a charge to donate to “your candidate” with “Maria Sheffield.”

McKinney’s statement to Sheffield and to 12th District Chairman Sack is as follows:

 “I have not spoken with Maria or anyone else on her campaign since reporting day in April. I do think Maria is qualified, has passion, and is a hard worker. I have a lot of respect for her. I have also been talking directly with Wright (McLeod) and believe he has the right qualities, vision, and experience to serve the 12th well.

As I have said before I believe the other two candidates are 1) in it for the wrong reason (one has already received over $100 thousand in government handouts) and 2) the other sat by and did nothing when the 12th needed him.

The text put out by Maria’s campaign is an excerpt from the same letter I sent you earlier this year voicing my opinion that we NEED to take our country back.

As I no longer reside in the 12th, I have not been public in my opinions. Feel free to forward my reply to anyone you believe might be interested.”

It is not uncommon for a campaign to make dubious claims of endorsements in the final hours before an election.  In the era of social media, however, the practice is riskier.  People no longer have to rely exclusively on direct mail and daily papers to rebut claims.  The Sheffield campaign now also has time to explain how and why this endorsement email was constructed and distributed.

There are no perfect candidates running for Ga-12.  The other three GOP’ers faults come from their public record.  Sheffield’s come directly from an insincere and less than honest campaign.

Thus ends the column. The entire email in question and Ray McKinney’s original email are posted below:

From: Kathryn Ballou <redacted> Date: Fri, Jul 27, 2012 at 3:31 PM Subject: Ray McKinney Endorses Maria Sheffield for Congress – 2010 GOP Nominee for GA 12 To: Kathryn Ballou <redacted>

Maria Sheffield is proud to have the endorsement of 2010 GA 12 Republican nominee for Congress Ray McKinney.

A Special Message from Ray McKinney, Republican Nominee for Congress in GA 12 (2010)

Ray McKinney Endorses Maria Sheffield for Congress

Friends:

I want to thank all of you who supported my conservative campaign as our nominee for Congress in 2010. It was a great honor to stand for Congress as our nominee and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to represent our GA 12 GOP.

More than most, I can appreciate the need to defeat Congressman John Barrow and elect a true conservative to Congress from our district.

Who is accountable for the success or failure of government?

We the People are accountable.

We the People are the ones who decide the fate of our country, not our politicians. We are the ones who are electing them. It is not the job of the government to determine who our leaders are, it is We the People and we are failing our country by electing big government liberals like Congressman John Barrow.

I’ve heard all the same stories, “he” has too much power, “he” has too much money, and my all-time favorite, “you can’t beat an incumbent.”

Well, past history says otherwise. When We the People get fired up incumbents get fired.

That is our job.

Right here in our own district we have an incumbent who we need to hold accountable.

The majority of the people in this district have either been misinformed or intentionally elect someone who will pander to what they want, not what our country needs.

But Ray, he has too much money. Bull!

Sure, John Barrow will raise a million or more (by the way from outside the district) but over 100,000 of us will vote for the GOP contender.

Imagine if besides voting you sent that contender $50.

That’s what? A month of cable? A night out with the spouse? Less than tickets to a ball game?

If everyone of us just sent $50 that candidate would raise over $5 million and defeat John Barrow. That is nothing compared to what others have done and are doing for this country and should be the absolute least we can do and call ourselves an American.

Unfortunately, many of us have never made a donation to our candidate.

We sit by and let others do the heavy lifting. Sure, we vote, but that’s the extent of it. We complain about people voting who don’t pay taxes, how the majority of people that vote live off our tax dollars, how bad “that” politician is but we do something other than complain.

Can you find a way to give up an hour or two of your time to wave a sign, show up at an event for your candidate, invite a neighbor and bring them to an event?

There are so many things we can do that will make a difference.

I’ve sent my contender, Maria Sheffield, $50 for the primary and instead of a night out, my wife and I will grill a couple of burgers and watch a Redbox movie.

If you can’t send $50 to Maria Sheffield will you commit to making 50 phone calls on her behalf or “LIKE” her on Facebook and invite all your Facebook friends to “LIKE” her, will you follow Maria on Twitter, will you volunteer at an event with Maria, will you campaign with her in your community?

I am going to and I need you to do so as well.

Instead of wanting the government to pass another law to do our job, what I am asking, no, begging you to do is fight for our Americaby electing Maria Sheffield – a true conservative to Congress.

Will you send Maria a Conservative Victory Donation today?

If you can’t send $50 will you send $20.12 for 2012 will go a long way to victory and will guarantee that Maria Sheffield can advance her conservative message and defeat liberal Congressman John Barrow.

Maria Sheffield is someone we know and someone we trust. Maria is a lifelong Georgia conservative having worked in the grassroots of the party for over twenty years.

Maria Sheffield is not coming to us for our support in a campaign, Maria Sheffield comes from us and we need to be here for her.

Together, we can send Maria Sheffield to Congress.

Join me TODAY – send Maria Sheffield $50 or send her $20.12 for 2012. Maybe you are in a position to send more $80, or $100. Anything you can – Maria Sheffield has earned our trust and needs our support.

I know Maria Sheffield is a Georgia Conservative who believes in Faith, Freedom, and Family. Maria Sheffield is a middle Georgia Girl.

The values Maria holds, the principles Maria supports, and the Faith which anchors Maria have been instilled in Maria in the heart of Georgia. Maria Sheffield grew up worshiping God, loving America, and respecting family.

Maria Sheffield understands – there is right and wrong, good and bad, and there are things which are pro-America and there are things that are not.

Join me TODAY – send Maria Sheffield $50 or send her $20.12 for 2012. Maybe you are in a position to send more $80, or $100. Anything you can – Maria Sheffield has earned our trust and needs our support.

Maria Sheffield is a Christian, an American, and a conservative in that order – and Maria Sheffield offers no apologies, we need those values in our Member of Congress.

Maria Sheffield is challenging John Barrow who proclaims he is – and I quote – “working hand-in-hand” – with President Obama. Maria Sheffield will “work hand-in-hand” with the taxpayers of Georgia.

Join me in supporting Maria Sheffield for Congress.

Sincerely,

Raymond McKinney

 

 

For Additional Information:

 

Kathryn Ballou

Campaign Manager

…And Ray McKinney’s actual email:

I took out the trash this morning and saw a bumper sticker on the garbage bin (a good place for it) and it said to “Fix Washington, Term Limits”. I could only shake my head. This is a topic I was once an ardent supporter until I actually began to read our constitution and writings from our founding fathers. They got it, we don’t, or we have lost it.

Government is not special. It works (or doesn’t) based on fundamental models. Just how would term limits “fix” government? How would term limits fix other institutions? Let’s say after two super bowl appearances you could no longer play football. Or after 25 successful brain surgeries you had to retire? After 50 combat missions or 2000 training hours you were grounded? 1,000 at bats? Hired your 100th employee, wrote your second novel, received your second academy award, in what other institution would term limits actually be a benefit? So why government? It’s actually quite simple.

In every other instance there is someone accountable for the results of the performer, whether it’s a coach, leader, an investor, or even the individual, someone benefits from a great performance and someone is negatively impacted by a poor performance. Government is no different. What is different is WHO is accountable and in the case of government, WE are accountable. WE are the ones failing our country, not our politicians. WE are the ones who are electing them. It is not the job of the government to determine who are leaders, it is WE THE PEOPLE’s job and we are failing our country.

I’ve heard all the same stories, he has too much power, he has too much money, you can’t beat an incumbent. Well, past history says otherwise. When WE THE PEOPLE get fired up incumbents get fired. That is our job. I’m very disappointed in the whining and moaning. Tell that to the men and women who suffered and died so we can have a country. Tell that to the soldier who fought in countless wars around the globe to protect our way of life. Tell that to the mom taking care of 2 kids while her husband is on his second or third tour overseas while trying to live off a pay rate we should all be embarrassed about. I am embarrassed by the actions of many of our WE THE PEOPLE. Sure, we are in for a tough fight but that’s the way it is and if we aren’t willing to do whatever we can then we don’t deserve the country our founders built for us.

We have to constantly earn that right.

Right here in our own district we have an incumbent that people want to “term limit”. Well, in case you don’t realize, he has a term limit of 2 years and every 2 years WE THE PEOPLE rehire him. The majority of the people in this district have either been misinformed or intentionally elect someone who will pander to what they want, not what our country needs.

But Ray, he has too much money. Bull! Sure, John will raise a million or more (by the way from outside the district) but over 100,000 of you will vote for the GOP contender. Imagine if besides voting you sent that contender $50. That’s what? A  month of cable? A night out with the spouse? Less than tickets to a ball game? If everyone of you just sent $50 that candidate would raise over $5 million and defeat John Barrow. That is nothing compared to what others have done and are doing for this country and should be the absolute least you can do and call yourself an American. Unfortunately, many of you won’t. You sit by and let others do the heavy lifting. Sure, you’ll go vote, but that’s the extent of it. You’ll complain about people voting who don’t pay taxes, how the majority of people that vote live off your tax dollars, how bad that politician is but will you at least do something other than complain? Can’t you at least find a way to give up an hour or two of your time to wave a sign, show up at an event for your candidate, invite a neighbor and bring them to an event? There are so many things you can do that will make a difference.

I’ve sent my contender, Maria Sheffield, $50 for the primary and instead of a night out, my wife and I will grill a couple of burgers and watch a Redbox movie. After the primaries, I’ll do the same for the winner. If you can’t send $50 to your choice then commit to making 50 phone calls on behalf of your candidate to total strangers or do something else instead of wanting the government to pass another law to do YOUR job. What I am asking, no, begging you to do is fight for your country and your children’s country.

Term limits do not work in the private sector and they will not work in the public sector.

They teach (or used to teach) in school there are 3 branches of Government. The Judicial, Legislative, and Executive. I believe there is a fourth and it has the most power. That branch is the Public and is the one branch that has the Power and the RESPONSIBILITY to decide who is in the other branches and you want to give up that responsibility? Our founding fathers gave us term limits for a reason, we get to decide who gets another shot at doing their job and who doesn’t, now it’s time for us to do OUR job.

Raymond McKinney

Calypso July 28, 2012 at 7:51 pm

I wonder what McKinney means when he refers to Sheffield as “my contender”?

oompaloompa July 28, 2012 at 8:37 pm

no worse than another current GA12 candidate fabricating names of endorsements on his website when he first announced. Why does this even matter? Look at the disclosures. Look at the tv for the past 2 weeks. Listen to the radio for the past 2 weeks. There are your two candidates for the run-off.

Move along. Nothing to see here.

ricstewart July 28, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Care to elaborate on “another current GA12 candidate fabricating names of endorsements on his website”?
I’ve heard that from other folks, but have never seen it confirmed. If it’s the candidate I’m thinking of, I wouldn’t be surprised at all, but I would like to know which endorsements were real and which were fake.

analogkid July 28, 2012 at 9:40 pm

I am shocked that a candidate with close ties to that great bastion of ethics, John Oxendine, would stoop to such levels.

ricstewart July 28, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Also happening over on Facebook right now:

On Sheffield’s page:
“Team Sheffield checking in from Bulloch County. We are so thankful to all the Georgia Southern University College Republicans who are supporting Maria Sheffield.
Maria Sheffield does not have to pay for her support from the College Republicans. Duty. HONOR. Country.”

On the GSU College Republicans’ page shortly after Maria’s post:
“GSU College Republicans do not endorse ANY candidate in the GA-12 US Congressional primary. However many of our members have decided to support certain candidates and are volunteering for those campaigns. Our organization is not being paid by any campaign and has never received any kind of monetary offer for our support/endorsement.”

Charlie July 28, 2012 at 10:02 pm

“…part of a strategy of a campaign that routinely uses social media to create a buzz for a campaign where little actually exists.”

ricstewart July 28, 2012 at 10:13 pm

As usual, you’ve summed it up accurately and concisely.

If there aren’t enough reasons not to vote for Sheffield, her annoying Facebook posts should convince anyone.

acoalson July 29, 2012 at 5:58 am

Having met Ric Stewart a total of 1 times in person{he was a really nice guy and someone whom I would like to drink with(call me!)}, it’s nice to see that Peach Pundit can bring people from different sides of the aisle together to call out bs.

ricstewart July 29, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Of course, her posts are not any more annoying than any other candidate for office. I guess it was unfair for me to call her out for standard social media campaign habits.

Raymond McKinney July 29, 2012 at 12:43 am

Based on personal experience, I have found that endorsements are great for morale boosting within the campaign team and getting a little press. Other than that, they aren’t worth a whole lot. That advice was given to me by a wise man named Jack Hill.

I gave the same advice to Maria during many of our phone conversations. I also shared that with Wright during several of our conversations. I have a lot of respect for Maria, she has proven herself to be a hard worker both as a campaigner and in her personal life. I did write the “above” letter and sent it to her campaign to use as they saw fit.

About two weeks later I was contacted by Wright. I was impressed with Mr. McLeod. I afforded him the same courtesy I had with Maria and offered my advice and observations (for whatever it was worth). I have confidence that either one would serve the 12th well.

On the other hand, one of our other candidates, who claims that he wants to cut government spending has taken over $100,000 in government handouts. Sending him to Congress will be like sending a cat into a tuna factory. The “other” candidate and close personal friend of other famous republican elected officials, sat by and did nothing to defeat Barrow in the last two elections. When asked to step up in ’10 to help the 12th, he took the advice of several of those friends to “wait” his time until redistricting. The last thing we need is another professional politician.

I hope people will choose “their” candidate based on who they think is right, not on who someone else thinks is right. I also ask people to look hard at their choices and see past the “press”, the blogs, and the propoganda from the other campaigns. None of us or our candidates are perfect but we have some good ones (and some who should be ashamed of themselves). We have a great chance here in the 12th to send the right candidate to Washington if we can get past the BS politics.

The sad part is all of this fighting only serves to help one person, John Barrow. Chances are we will have a runoff and if we don’t come together, FAST, we will lose a great opportunity. It is OUR country and OUR responsibility so let’s do our job. So pick YOUR candidate based on what you know and you believe. When the election is over stand behind the winner.

Dave Bearse July 29, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Actually, it’s helping the people of the 12th, Mr. McKinney. Besides carpet-bagging Sheffield being further exposed as disreputable, there’s vindication in the re-election of Barrow in ’10, as it’s clear you value partisanship more than principle in not calling Sheffield out on putting words in your mouth. Or do you support Sheffield, and concur her use of your letter was reputable?

Raymond McKinney July 30, 2012 at 9:32 am

Dave,
I am not a candidate nor do I consider myself judge and jury. I believe all of the facts are available to the public and they can make their own decisions. That is what we do in America. That is why we ALL have a right to vote and a responsibility to do so based on our decisions not on the decisions or opinions of others.

If the worst you can say about Maria is she is a carpet bagger where is that considered concerning John Barrow? John Stone did not live in the 12th in ’08 and he was nominated as the best candidate. John Stone was deemed capable to serve and would have served us well so what is the point.

Partisanship? Well, yes, I am a Republican and I support Republican candidates.

Dave Bearse July 31, 2012 at 1:19 am

I appreciate you responding to a mildly snarky comment. You’re the only one that can judge if the Sheffield campaign misused the intent of your words. That’s at least one fact not available to the general public.

You’ve endorsed Sheffield above the other GOP contenders according to the Sheffield campaign. The conclusion, when you don’t refute that, is that you take no serious objection to her use of your words in that regard.

As to carpet-bagging, it’s an issue mainly in that Sheffield sought to disparage another candidate on that account. It’s a relevant distinction in the case of Barrow as an incumbent that he was resident in the district and was purposefully drawn out of the district. In Sheffield’s case (at least based on my limited knowledge) she never resided in any part of the district for any significant period of time, if at all.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with partisanship though when excessive it results in imbalance.

Romegaguy July 29, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Maria and Kat will lie and say or do anything to get elected, whether it is Insurance Commissioner, Congresswoman or dog catcher

oompaloompa July 29, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Charlie works for Dubose Porter??

I’m so confused.

oompaloompa July 29, 2012 at 5:48 pm

@ric – Lee Anderson. He has since taken the names off of his webpage of those that did not give him expressed permission to use their name – and there were several. If I am not mistaken, there was a story on PP referring to the matter when he kicked off his campaign.

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