The lawyer challenging a Jewish judge running for re-election in DeKalb County apologized for trying to turn the race into a referendum on religion.
Roderick Bridges’ apology to State Court Judge Dax Lopez came a day after he drew widespread criticism for a mailer that listed being “Christian” as a qualification for the job, and listed Bridges with a thumbs-up sign and Lopez with a thumbs-down. Bridges also listed Jesus Christ as his top supporter on his website.
Bridges told The Daily Report on Friday he was responsible for the flier and “has to apologize to anyone that I may have offended.”
Bridges said the execution of the mailer was regrettable. “That column was more designed to respond to fliers that our opponent sent out. We just did a poor job of it,” he said.
Bridges also said that including religion in the checklist was intended to highlight his own commitment to his faith. “I wasn’t talking about him, I was more so talking about myself,” Bridges said.
“We weren’t trying to offend anybody, especially the Jewish population,” he said of the mailer.
Lopez is a Hispanic and Jewish Republican whose nomination to the federal bench was blocked earlier this year by U.S. Sen. David Perdue amid opposition from anti-illegal immigration forces.
Our AJC colleague Bill Rankin reported on another flaw in Bridges’ campaign:
The flier also includes a line that says “suspended,” with a note that Bridges has “never” been suspended and that Lopez was blocked by a Republican after President Barack Obama nominated him last year to be a federal judge.
On Friday, Mark Dehler, director of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, which oversees the judicial code of ethical conduct, said Bridges’ flier infers or implies that Lopez had been suspended from the bench. Because the JQC is the only agency that can suspend judges, the agency decided to set the record straight.
“Unequivocally, Judge Lopez has never been suspended, reprimanded or otherwise sanctioned by the JQC,” Dehler said.
When asked about his flier, Bridges said it never actually said that Lopez had been suspended from the bench.
“But we did not do a good on that, making our point clear,” Bridges said. “At some point in time, we’ll release a statement saying we did a poor job on this mailing. I’m not a politician.”
Lopez, meanwhile, told The Daily Report that Bridges’ apology fell flat.
“Of course it was intentional,” he told the newspaper. “There’s really no reason to include a category like that on a judicial mailer.”