Political campaigns get nasty and desperate in the final days. It appears that state Senate District 42 race is no different.
On Tuesday, May 11, DeKalb County voters will cast ballots to decide who'll replace David Adelman, their former senator who now serves as U.S. ambassador to Singapore. The challengers in the race are: lawyers Tom Stubbs and Jason Carter, both Democrats; real estate executive Steve Patrick, an independent; and small-business owner David Montane, a Libertarian.
Carter, as you might have heard, is the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter. That kind of family connection and name recognition could benefit a candidate in a district like the 42nd, which leans liberal. But it could also be an obstacle, as the district has a large Jewish population that might have concerns about the former president's comments regarding Israel and Palestine. (That's a murky issue for one to dip a toe, but common sense tells you a grandson shouldn't be blamed or commended for his grandfather's views. Months before Adelman's seat opened up, the younger Carter served as a go-between in discussions between his grandfather and the Jewish community to mend the rift.)
That hasn't stopped a mysterious political operative from distributing anonymous fliers in the Toco Hills area, which sits in District 42 and is home to a large Jewish population. Jason Pye at Peach Pundit posted an image of the flier, which claims that the bulk of Carter's campaign contributors come from outside the state.
One contributor, Amir Emami, is singled out for donating $9,600 much more than the $4,800 allowed in Georgia. Emami's listed as being from Hong Kong, which is... wait, that's outside the United States! And, sweet Jesus, that's a photo of Yasser Arafat! One of those dudes has got to be Amir, because that's not a very American name! Whole world's going to hell, people!
The Carter campaign says the information is "completely erroneous and wrong" and has evidence to back up his claim.
According to Carter, Emami is not pictured in the photo. The candidate says Emami is a 32-year-old, New York-born finance executive who's worked with his father and has never even met Arafat. He now lives in Hong Kong, where he works for an equity fund.
"His wife's name is Natalie, by the way, which is obviously not inflammatory enough to make it on the flier," Carter says. "I'm obviously disappointed that my opponents would do this, but we're going to keep talking about the things that are important in this campaign and matter to the district."
(Tom Stubbs says on Peach Pundit that his campaign played no role in the flier. He adds that "kind of crap has no business in any election" and that "It is by the light of each of our own strengths and weaknesses that we should be measured, not those of our ancestors.")
According to campaign disclosure reports, the Emamis didn't contribute $9,600 to the campaign, as the flier states. Last December, they each gave $2,400 for a total of $4,800, the legal maximum. (Here's a list of all people with the last name "Emami" who, according to the State Ethics Commission, have contributed to political campaigns. And here's a list of all people from Hong Kong who've contributed to political campaigns.)
Howard Franklin, Carter's campaign manager, tells CL that the other information on the flier is also erroneous.
"We did an analysis of our donors," Franklin says. "Jason's got 820 donors; 655 are from Georgia. Of the total amount we've raised, only 27 percent of that money came from outside Georgia. We don't know who's behind [the flier]. We're going to focus on the issues voters care about."
So if you recently visited Toco Hills, picked up this flier and happen to come across this blog post, know that this thing is bullshit.
(Courtesy Jason Pye at Peach Pundit)
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