Posted: 8:02 pm Monday, May 19th, 2014

A nasty robocall rocks Kennesaw-Marietta race for House seat 

By Jim Galloway

Cobb County has long had a reputation for smear sheets distributed during the final hours of an election, but this robocall is one of the worst electronic versions we’ve heard in a while.

It’s aimed at Bert Reeves, a Republican challenger to state Rep. Charles Gregory of Kennesaw for the District 34 House seat, one of the more conservative areas of metro Atlanta. But Gregory has disavowed it as well.

Listen here:

Here’s the text:

“Hi. Please listen to this important message. Global Action for Trans Equality would like to endorse Bert Reeves for the seat of your next state House representative. Bert Reeves and his partner Matt have been well-respected attorneys in Marietta for a long time.

“If elected, Bert Reeves will continue to stand for marriage equality and equal rights for all people. We’re counting on your vote tomorrow.”

A couple things here: It’s unclear who has sent this out. Some have told us that the number for the robocall is out of Seattle. But if you listen carefully, there’s a slight Southern lilt to the narrator’s voice. He’s local.

We called Reeves, a former prosecutor and first-time candidate, who was clearly bowled over by the vitriol contained in the message. “This is the third group that’s attacked me, violating Georgia ethics law,” Reeves said.

Reeves says he is unmarried, and has a “lovely, wonderful girlfriend named Amy.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Gregory, whom you might remember is being opposed by the Georgia Coalition for Job Growth, sent the following paragraphs after we shipped him the sound:

“The audio sent to me by Jim Galloway is complete nonsense. No one in my campaign has anything to do with it. In fact, I called many Republican Primary voters that I know around the district and have yet to find a single confirmation or any evidence that this call actually went out. Either way, it’s obvious that such a call would in no way benefit my campaign. It would not surprise me if certain groups formed in the last two months backing my opponent were behind this whole thing.

“The ONLY call my campaign has broadcast this year, or ever, has been to announce my endorsement by the National Rifle Association and the National Association for Gun Rights.”

So if you’ve received the message in question, please tell us in the commenting section below. Let us know the time and place. Email me the phone number.

Updated at 8:23 a.m.: Gregory sent word early this morning that he believes Reeves or a group supporting him sent out the robocall, as some of you have theorized below. Attitudes toward same-sex marriage are indeed changing in Georgia, but I don’t think they’ve changed enough for a candidate in a most conservative district to declare himself gay in order to win the sympathy vote. I think Occam’s razor applies here.

38 comments
patrick.henry
patrick.henry

This was a transparent political play that may very well have won Reeves the election.

If this call went out, it only went to a select number of Reeves supporters... enough to legitimize a staged news story that makes Gregory look like a bigot and poor Bert look like a victim.  The story is seeded with the AJC, posted on the internet, quickly spread via Facebook and twitter by Reeves supporters, and then broadcast on the radio all day election day.  The main result is to mobilize and turn out Reeves supporters but also demoralizes Gregory supporters and sways some votes to Reeves.

The notion that anyone in the Gregory's camp would send this out is absurd because the ONLY possible outcome of such a call would be to damage Gregory's reputation.  So why would Gregory send it out?  That's right, he wouldn't.  The Reeves camp would.

All anyone has to do is look at the web sites and campaign materials of both candidates to see who resorts to this type of campaigning anyways.

jamietp
jamietp

I live in Bert Reeves' district and received the voice mail yesterday at 2:22 pm.  It is sad how low people will go!

coj
coj

@KeepinItSimple: I guess I could say if Liberals had any sense whatsoever then the above wouldn't be an issue, but that's the world we live in.  The world where both parties want to help people, but only the Democrats believe in forcing people to do so against their will.  There's your freedom.


Conservative republicans want to force women into buying rape-insurance, force them into paying and having an unnecessary ultra sound procedure, force people who have a long voting record and are American citizens to obtain a photo ID in order to vote, the Massachusetts GOP introduced a law that would force people to seek permission from a judge before they can engage in sexual relations, House Republicans are currently advancing the “No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act” that requires the Internal Revenue Service to conduct audits of rape victims to insure that they commit no tax fraud and the list goes on. Yep, there's your freedom, alright.

SoGAVet
SoGAVet

Back a couple of years ago, the Republican leadership in the General Assembly successfully removed the requirement for campaign ads to identify who paid for the advertisement.  Neat trick, eh?

Jke
Jke

This meets the test for libel under NYT v. Sullivan.  File in federal court and subpoena everybody's phone records, emails, etc.  A very bad judgement call on whomever authorized this. Sue him!!    

techgirl39
techgirl39

I live in this district and I received the call yesterday around 1pm. I CANNOT believe Gregory did this!!! He is obviously lying that he is not connected with this. I am ashamed to say that my city elected Gregory 2 years ago and that he is filthy enough to pull this... and then to suggest that Bert Reeves would do this?? I am just so sickened by this and by Gregory!! I decided to vote Reeves a long time ago because of Gregory's embarrassing voting in the house. This just confirms that I will not be supporting Gregory today!! 


Independently Minded
Independently Minded

@BethPollak , the idea that you cry and moan about a negative campaign when your candidate was THE FIRST in this race to go negative is completely childish!  Do you and your ilk honestly expect a candidate to be attacked and not defend himself?  You and your likeminded friends who utilize a scorched earth campaign to win and retain a seat only shoot yourselves in the head and render your candidate completely irrelevant.  Regardless of Gregory's views, his scorched earth method of governance at the Capitol have so alienated him from legislators that no one will touch him with a 10 foot pole, except for his crony, Sam Moore, who will likely be ousted in a runoff this summer.

BethPollak
BethPollak

Charles Gregory would never be a part of something like this.  On the other hand, Bert moved to the district 2 weeks prior to filing so that he could run.  He ran an extremely negative campaign with his staffers bashing Charles with false information and one of his staffers was campaigning door to door claiming to be Bert's son.  He does not have a son.  There is no doubt who the rat is here, and it is not Charles.  The establishment can't stand someone that won't go along with their dirty politics.  It is such a shame that some people can't see that.

Hannah B. Martin
Hannah B. Martin

I received this robo call at my home at  2:39 this afternoon.  Bert Reeves is an honest and honorable candidate.  This sort of last minute dirty  politics is despicable 

Billy Harkins
Billy Harkins

This absolutely smells of an inside job by Reeves' people.  Never a good sign when you pull something like this out.  My guess is that their polling shows trouble and they are looking for sympahty -- anything that will stick.

PhillipPowell
PhillipPowell

I was shocked when I heard the call and I have the number on my caller ID.


Scott.McAfee
Scott.McAfee

My parents live in district 34 off Ben King Road. They received this exact same message today at 2:59PM. Sorry Charles Gregory, despite your denial, this political filth does exist.

Baumer_1
Baumer_1

If conservatives didn't hate gay people this would not be an issue. But that is the world we live in.

Conservatives don't want people to be free to be themselves, they want to use the law to force others to conform to their evangelical-fascist ways.

NWGAL
NWGAL

Those who actually listen to robocalls should expect to listen to filth.

Billy Harkins
Billy Harkins

@techgirl39  Please provide a photo of the number that called you on the caller ID of whatever phone you were called on.  Just asking.

Billy Harkins
Billy Harkins

@Independently Minded @BethPollak  Bert Reeves has not be honest with voters from the beginning!  He refused to even mention that he owns a house in another district and just rented temporarily in House District 34!  Reeves and his front groups (Georgia Coalition for Job Creation) are being run by his friends, attacking Gregory.  Did you not get Reeves first mail piece attacking Gregory as well?  This is projecting by the Reeves campaign.  They have been the nastiest campaigners in the race, and now they cry.  

GeorgiaIrish
GeorgiaIrish

@BethPollak  Won't go along with dirty politics? Charles doesn't even know the rules of the House (which he voted on). He has consistently voted no just because what was being voted on "didn't go far enough". He is out of touch with the district, and reality. 


The Campaign for Liberty folks have done this time and time again throughout the country. They find out that their person is losing and then start flying off the handle. This is nothing new, and should be expected from someone like Charles Gregory and his kind.

Billy Harkins
Billy Harkins

@PhillipPowell  My guess is someone in Reeves' orbit sent this to identified supporters to motivate them to turn out.  Where is any proof Gregory had anything to do with it?  There is ZERO!

Billy Harkins
Billy Harkins

@Scott.McAfee  My guess is someone in Reeves' orbit sent this to identified supporters to motivate them to turn out.  Where is any proof Gregory had anything to do with it?  There is ZERO!

KeepinItSimple
KeepinItSimple

@Baumer_1  Nice stereo-typing.  


For most Conservatives, and voters in general, GLT issues are FAR down the political agenda.  If you are a backer of allowing people to be free to be themselves then you should not be backing a party that STEALS from workers and redistributes their money to others.  That is what Conservatives are sick of from our politicians.  


I guess I could say if Liberals had any sense whatsoever then the above wouldn't be an issue, but that's the world we live in.  The world where both parties want to help people, but only the Democrats believe in forcing people to do so against their will.  There's your freedom.


techgirl39
techgirl39

@Billy Harkins @techgirl39  I cannot upload pictures to this comment feed. It is not a feature of this website. It was on my home phone that they called me.

Independently Minded
Independently Minded

 Just to be clear, the mailers sent out by Gregory's campaign attacked Reeves for votes on issues for which he could not possibly have voted, considering that he has not yet become an elected official.  Gregory, meanwhile, has a clear record that can and should be closely examined.  He has taken the mindset that, if you're 99% with me, then you're 100% against me.  No wonder he has alienated himself under the dome and has done nothing to adequately represent his district.  Ask officials at KSU, or businesses around Town Center and the Marietta Square and they will tell you, 9 times out of 10, he has done nothing for them.  He's one of these "I'm running to take our country back" folks, but he fails to express from whom he is taking it back or to what/where he is taking it.  Alas, the record of the individual should be attacked, not the individual himself.  @BethPollack, perhaps you could move in the district and actually get to know folks here.

Billy Harkins
Billy Harkins

@GeorgiaIrish @BethPollak  How many times did Charles Gregory vote "yes" or "no"? I think you don't know.  But I'll bet you it's far more "yes" than "no."

Billy Harkins
Billy Harkins

@Independently Minded @Billy Harkins  Glad you admit he supported it along with Democrats and Republicans. Now that has been settled, ask him if he pulled the lever and "voted" for it!  LOL.  He does after all, own a house in another district, and is just renting in House District 34.  Hope we can agree on that.

Independently Minded
Independently Minded

@Billy Harkins And so did the 2,740 Marietta residents (54% majority) who voted in favor of this referendum.  So, while he supported this, the final result and approval was left up to the city's residents.  Alas, Spending too much time on this at work rather than being productive.  Take care.

Billy Harkins
Billy Harkins

@Independently Minded  Provide physical evidence of "Gregory's campaign attacked Reeves for votes on issues for which he could not possibly have voted, considering that he has not yet become an elected official."  It doesn't exist.  I have pieces from my mail.  It says "Reeves supported" tax hikes.  Just as you or I could support tax hikes while not in office.  Geez.  Provide the physical evidence.  Here is my physical evidence of Reeves supporting a tax hikes:


https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152024019364540&set=t.1192743309&type=1&theater


"Vote Yes Marietta" pushed a $68 million property tax hike.  That is a picture of Reeves on the right "supporting" the effort.  Now, produce the evidence you say exists of Gregory saying Reeves "voted."  Not holding my breath.

Billy Harkins
Billy Harkins

@GeorgiaIrish @Billy Harkins  He owns one close to the Marietta Square!  Here are 92 houses for sale between $75,000 and $150,000 in zip code 30152: http://www.zillow.com/kennesaw-ga-30152/  That's just one zip and one price range!  The house he owns in another district is significantly more expensive than that price range.  Your excuse is lame, and stupid.  

Billy Harkins
Billy Harkins

@GeorgiaIrish @Billy Harkins Speaking of living "out of district," hope we can agree that Mr. Reeves not telling voters he owns a house in another district and is just "renting" in House District 34 wasn't the most honest thing in the world.

GeorgiaIrish
GeorgiaIrish

@Billy Harkins  You're kidding right? I guess I shouldn't expect anything less from someone that lives out of district and works for the EPD.

snkrdcr
snkrdcr

@Billy Harkins @Chris30338you did not say "guess" in that sense, you said that it "absolutely smells of an inside job" which is an explicit accusation... do not try to backtrack out of an obvious statement. I have no horse in this race, I live in Gwinnett and am a Democrat... I am just tired of hearing Republicans say something and then try to deny that they said it, which appears to be standard operating procedure for Republicans these days. If you say it then own it