As if the ongoing campaign for the votes of Newton County Republicans hadn’t gotten ugly enough, a campaign flyer recently landed in the mailboxes of some area voters that harkens back to the bad old days of racist politics in Georgia.
It arrived on the same day as another mailer from the same source came in support of Republican congressional candidate Mike Collins of Jackson.
Collins has pulled no punches against his Republican 10th Congressional District primary opponent, Vernon Jones.
Jones, who is African American, is a former Democratic state legislator who switched to the Republican Party because of his support for Donald Trump in late 2020.
He entered the 10th District congressional primary earlier this year after dropping out of the race for governor at the urging of former president Donald Trump, who then endorsed Jones in the congressional race and former senator David Perdue in the governor’s race.
Collins, of course, was none too happy about having campaigned for months as a pro-Trump candidate and seeing the former president’s highly-sought endorsement go to Jones.
He immediately went on the offensive upon Jones’ entry into the race and brought up the 2005 allegations of rape made against Jones while he was DeKalb County government CEO, the equivalent of a county chairman.
While they were made against Jones personally and not in his role as CEO, nevertheless they are a part of Jones’ past that Collins sought to highlight to show the contrast between the two candidates.
So, the content of the two recent mailers was not a surprise.
One highlighted the 17-year-old allegations on a mailer complete with a black-and-white photos of Jones. The other featured full-color photos of Collins and highlighted his pro-Trump and far-right stands on such issues as gun control and the 2020 presidential election.
But whoever designed the mailers — a group called Free American PAC claims responsibility — also added one not-so-subtle contrast into the anti-Jones mailer.
One side features an incredibly out-of-focus photo of Jones that almost makes him appear like something from a 1950s horror movie. The other side, though, shows Jones with rapper Rick Ross on the left, the rape accusations highlighted in yellow in the center, and a crying, white woman on the right.
You can figure out for yourself what this implies.
Jones said he believed Collins was behind the mailer even though it clearly states it’s from an entity called Free American PAC.
If it’s the same group, Free American PAC is registered with the Federal Election Commission as a Lynchburg, Virginia-based political action committee headed by Amanda Fahy.
Jones said Collins had “resorted to the worst political destruction ... I’ve ever seen.”
“It’s an act of desperation,” Jones said.
“But remember, they tried that with President Trump, they tried it with (Supreme Court justices) Brett Kavanaugh ... Clarence Thomas. And this is what a RINO Republican (like) Mike Collins will do — who feels like he’s entitled to that seat,” said Jones, using the acronym for Republican In Name Only.
Collins’ campaign distanced itself from the mailer but took the opportunity to repeat the allegations and Jones’ former longtime Democratic Party affiliation.
“Our campaign had nothing to do with this mailer, but voters in Georgia’s 10th district deserve to understand that Vernon Jones is a lifelong Democrat from DeKalb County who has a documented history of rape, corruption and discrimination allegations against him.
“Voters in Covington, in Newton County, and across the 10th District want an honest, God-fearing, Pro-Trump, America First candidate who has lived, worked, raised a family and built a business in the district — and that’s why so many folks are supporting Mike Collins.”
An email to Fahy for comment had not been returned by press time for this edition.
If whoever paid for the mailer approved a design that was meant to help Collins, it backfired and only hurts someone like the Jackson truck driving company owner who had not mentioned Jones’ race in any of his comments about his opponent in the nine-candidate Republican field seeking to succeed Jody Hice as 10th District congressman.
Hopefully this will be the last we’ll see of this pre-Civil Rights era style of Georgia politics.
Tom Spigolon is news editor of The Covington News. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.