Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Democrats Spar into Runoff

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Democrats Spar into Runoff

Article excerpt

ATLANTA -- Two Democrats fighting to the finish to be their

party's nominee for lieutenant governor are assailing each other

at every turn, one calling his opponent an ultra-liberal, the

other dubbing her rival a felon.

State Sen. Mark Taylor, D-Albany, who finished 8 percentage

points behind Sen. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur, in the July

21 primary, is attempting to build his base by painting his

opponent as outside the mainstream.

"The choice is between a mainstream Georgian and an inside

[Interstate] 285 Atlanta liberal," he said.

Oliver spared nothing in her response to Taylor, citing his

admission of cocaine use in the early 1980s, while she was a

magistrate judge.

"The truth is that Mark Taylor has a significant deficit

position and is desperate to smear me and weaken me," she said.

"While I was a judge in DeKalb County fighting crime, Mark

Taylor, as a young adult in his 20s, was using cocaine . . ."

Taylor has endured attacks from opponents since a deposition in

a custody battle for his son Fletcher was leaked to the media

earlier this year. In the document, Taylor admitted to marijuana

and cocaine use, which he quit when his wife learned she was

pregnant.

With one week to go before the Aug. 11 primary runoff, it is

likely the negative attacks will continue. The victor faces the

winner of the Republican runoff between Clint Day and Mitch

Skandalakis in the Nov. 3 general election.

Taylor is trying to diminish Oliver's lead and support in the

black community, important in Democratic primary elections,

while portraying himself as a moderate Democrat responsible for

many of Gov. Zell Miller's popular initiatives.

But both can tout prominent positions in the state Senate.

Oliver, 50, heads the Judiciary Committee, where bills on

criminal justice, abortion and legal issues have been debated. …

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