Georgia Public Television's Georgia Weekly was very interesting this week. The show featured former Republican Party chair, Chuck Clay and former Democratic U.S. Rep. Buddy Darden. They provided some good commentary on the general election races including for Governor, Lt. Governor, and Georgia Supreme Court amongst others.
You can see the program via the GPB website here. It's approximately 30 minutes long.
GPB also aired the debate taped Monday night between Justice Hustein and her challenger, Mike Wiggins in their continuing battle for the Georgia Supreme Court. The debate was just as described, very chilly and highly contentious. But, in my opinion, Justice Hunstein was the better and more confident of the two. Mr. Wiggins, a D.C. attorney, came off as evasive and at times not completely comfortable with what he himself was saying.
Judge for yourself by watching here.
The two sparred over their respective ads. Mr. Wiggins' ads have portrayed Justice Hunstein as soft on crime. Hunstein responded with the endorsement of over 20 prosecutors throughout the state of Georgia.
Hunstein was asked about her hard-hitting attack ad on Mr. Wiggins' family history. She defended it by saying that it "reveals his character." Mr. Wiggins continues to address certain parts of the ad, while ignoring others. And he dismisses it as petty personal politics.
Wiggins sought to single out this Supreme Court race from other Supreme Court races and all other judicial races in Georgia by saying that Justice Hunstein's support from the state bar is "a conflict of interest." All I can say is that if you look at the campaign contribution disclosures for any judicial race, you'll see attorneys are the main donors. Why? Probably because they are the only ones interested in those low key, nonpartisan races.
That is, until now..........
In a departure from elections past, Mr. Wiggins and his backers have introduced untold amounts of money into this race. And it's all from big business who also have a stake in many of the cases that come before the Georgia Supreme Court. Groups don't usually donate millions of dollars without expecting something in return. So, I wonder why Mr. Wiggins doesn't feel that this is "a conflict of interest?"
Throw in the fact that the Republican Party has joined its business allies in this nonpartisan race. Together, they've spent millions of mostly out-of-state, anyonymous dollars to attack and distort Justice Hunstein's record. Which is a shame because I feel very comfortable in saying that Justice Hunstein is widely respected because of her well-rounded and bipartisan private and business support including:
Dan Amos of AFLAC
Jim Blanchard of Synovus
Former Governor Roy Barnes, Democrat
Former Attorney General Mike Bowers, Republican
Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin
23 District Attorneys of both parties, including Republicans Pat Head of Cobb County, Danny Porter of Gwinnett, Danny Craig of Augusta, and Democrats Ken Hodges of Albany and Paul Howard of Atlanta.
The Georgia Association of Educators
Wendell Willard, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Republican
Oscar Persons, former general counsel of the Georgia Republican Party
Congressman John Lewis, Democrat
State Representative Ed Lindsey, Republican
I have nothing personal against Mr. Wiggins or his supporters. But I don't like how they've conducted their race. And I don't think the ramifications of what they're trying to do is good for Georgia or judicial races in the future.