If it's true that politics makes strange bedfellows, there is some serious weirdness under the sheets around here.
Sam Olens, the Republican nominee for Georgia attorney general, is set to be feted in a high-dollar cocktail party fundraiser Monday, at Cadwalladers Cafe in Martinez.
Invitations to the event started circulating last week, and alarms immediately went off at the office of Superior Court Judge Wade Padgett.
See, it is a violation of the judicial code of ethics for a judge to endorse a political candidate. But there on the invitation, listed among the hosts for the reception, is Padgett.
Much to his surprise.
"I've never met this man," an exasperated Padgett says of Olens. "I've never talked to this guy."
Padgett called the Olens campaign office in Marietta, and a worker admitted his name shouldn't have been listed without his OK. Duh.
Donna Nealey, the office manager for Olens' campaign, was almost suicidally apologetic
"His name came up because someone knew him," Nealey says. "I sent it to my fundraiser person, and when she did the invite, she picked up all of the names in the e-mail, and it was totally my fault.
"He did not say he would be a host at all," Nealey added, emphatically.
The campaign since has sent out an amended invitation, she said.
Padgett said he was told that the person who provided his name, along with the names of other potential supporters, apparently was George Snelling.
During the recent county commission chairmanship race, Snelling supported challenger Brett McGuire. Oddly enought, near the end of that race, McGuire's supporters criticized incumbent Ron Cross when he ran a series of ads that listed two area judges among his supporters.
But wait! There's more! (Isn't there always?)
In addition to Snelling, other names on the invitation's original host list are none other than former foe Cross and attorney Bill Trotter III, a sometimes-partner of Snelling who broke ranks to make a $1,000 contribution to Cross.
Word has it that all of the parties involved kissed and made up (not literally; the "bedfellows" thing only goes so far) after Cross won re-election. This invitation certainly is a sign that they can, indeed, work together.
Former state Rep. Barry Fleming also is on the list, as is current state Rep. Ben Harbin. Presumably they don't have any particular heartburn with any others on the list.
Maybe while Olens is here, someone will needle him about the recent story pointing out that, when Oldens was chairman of the Cobb County Commission, he encouraged the purchase of two mules for a history exhibit. Since then, the county has spent nearly $70,000 taking care of the pair, and the exhibit isn't even open.
That sort of thing happens when city boys try to play country.
Young: Don't vote
As of Monday, more than 600 people had already visited the Columbia County elections office to cast an early vote for the Nov. 2 election.
If an organization called the Unifying Truth Project had its way, young people wouldn't be among them.
The organization, headquartered in Chapel Hill, N.C., wants college students to boycott the ballot "where one candidate has unfair advantages over another or where all the candidates are bought and sold by the political party they represent."
Gotta love that empty-headed youthful idealism. Seriously, though, this is a great idea: Twentysomethings, such as those who helped saddle us with President Obama, tend to be far more liberal - mostly a consequence of having little experience in life, or in earning a living.
If this thing caught on, it would be a sure-fire booster for conservatives. So get on board, liberal college kids! Stay home on election day and stick it to The Man!
And get a job, while you're at it.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow at twitter.com/barrypaschal.)
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