Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Nasty Politics Spreading GOP Candidates Cited for Excesses

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Nasty Politics Spreading GOP Candidates Cited for Excesses

Article excerpt

ATLANTA -- Former state Senate research director, mother of two

and first-time candidate Joy Hawkins awoke the day before her

July primary to find fliers spread around her neighborhood

saying she once had an abortion.

Hawkins, a suburban Atlanta attorney, was running for a state

Senate seat. She said she expected better of her Republican

opponents than to try such a false attack.

"It's like the question, `When did you stop beating your wife?'"

said Hawkins, who finished third in a four-way primary.

"That's what you get for trying to run a good, clean,

campaign," she said. "The Republican Party is supposed to be the

one with moral, Christian principles and higher standards."

The GOP, which bills itself as the party of family values and

Christian principles, has produced some of Georgia's nastiest

campaigns, with charges of abortion and infidelity becoming

nearly routine in primary races, candidates say.

The results have left some losers so bitter they are refusing

to endorse GOP primary winners in the Nov. 3 general election.

The dirty campaigning isn't limited to legislative races. In

this summer's GOP runoff for lieutenant governor, one candidate

used 4-year-old Las Vegas hotel telephone records to question

whether the other made a call to an escort service.

"It's the worst kind of politics when you go around accusing

people, whether it's a woman of having an abortion or a man of

an extramarital affair," said state Sen. Ed Boshears, R-St.

Simons Island, who lost a three-way primary to Tommie Williams,

a Christian conservative candidate.

Williams admitted telling a Boshears supporter that the senator

propositioned a woman.

"How can they call themselves a Christian or run on Christian

principles? How can you engage in that kind of politics? I think

it's blasphemy," Boshears said.

Neither Boshears nor Williams' other opponent, former state

Rep. Willou Smith, regarded the pine straw broker from Lyons as

a serious contender.

But a 1987 vote by Smith for a narrowly drawn bill to allow an

abused juvenile to petition a judge for an abortion proved an

easy target for Williams. …

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