The race for the Republican nomination for the 12th District congressional seat was as ugly as a backstage hairpulling throwdown on the set of Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo.
But what’s puzzling is the ugliness has continued. And it doesn’t even include the winner.
Oh, sure, Lee Anderson, who won the July 31 primary and barely squeezed out a win in the Aug. 21 runoff, is taking his share of shots these days, most of them from within his own party for rejecting debates with Democrat John Barrow.
The discomfort level likely will rise if Barrow lampoons Anderson as an empty chair at the upcoming Atlanta Press Club debate, just as Clint Eastwood needled President Obama during the GOP convention.
Even so, Anderson is the winning candidate for the Republicans, and those who are uncomfortable about it are stuck with him. But what do we make of the recent attacks on the third-place candidate by the staffers who worked for the second-place candidate?
Rick Allen lost in the runoff to Anderson despite spending bucketloads of his own money. During the primary, he sparred quite a bit with third-place finisher Wright McLeod, accusing McLeod of campaign violations and of being a “trial lawyer.”
McLeod might be a lot of things, but he isn’t a “trial lawyer.” Most of his legal work is in the boring world of real estate law, handling closings and managing homeowners associations. But as a cheap epithet, “trial lawyer” is one of those button-pushers that professional campaign staffers love.
After losing the primary, McLeod endorsed Anderson, no doubt in large part because of Allen’s attacks during the primary. Allen then lost the runoff, which meant his high-priced consultants lost their ride on the gravy train to Washington.
Perhaps that explains, then, why two of those consultants have continued taking shots at McLeod.
McLeod, see, is the attorney for the Millshaven Property Owners Association. As such, it was his job to file the lawsuit against the resident who, the association says, violated the neighborhood covenants by putting a pink-and-purple paint job on a grandchild’s backyard playhouse.
Since the news of the suit broke, a political newsletter called Georgia Tipsheet last week reported repeated Facebook jabs at McLeod from two of those former Allen staffers.
It’s hard to find a bigger example of sour grapes than losers beating up on another also-ran. It might also be hard to find something more awkward than hired guns attacking someone for being a hired gun – because, after all, McLeod is just doing what the Millshaven association pays him to do.
Actually, it’s worse than awkward: McLeod is doing his job. Allen’s ex-staffers are freelance sniping.
Anderson should at least be grateful that it’s diverting them from attacking him. If nothing else, it means McLeod’s endorsement is continuing to pay off.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. Email barry.paschal@newstimes online.com, or call 706-863-6165, extension 106. Follow at twitter.com/