Georgia lawmaker: Talk of ditching Confederate statues could cause Democrat to ‘go missing’

State Rep. Jason Spencer reviews legislation. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

A Georgia Republican lawmaker warned a Democratic former colleague who criticized his support for Civil War monuments on Facebook that she won’t be “met with torches but something a lot more definitive” if she continues to call for the removal of statues in south Georgia.

State Rep. Jason Spencer, a Woodbine Republican, also wrote former state Rep. LaDawn Jones that “people in South Georgia are people of action, not drama” and suggested some who don’t understand that “will go missing in the Okefenokee.”

“Too many necks they are red around here,” he wrote. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you about ’em.”

Jones, who represented an Atlanta-based district from 2012 to 2016, responded that she saw his remarks as a “threat of physical violence” but said she was confident that future generations will abandon a “we are better than them” mentality.

“Enjoy but know … WINTER IS COMING,” wrote Jones, who is black. “You know it too … otherwise you wouldn’t have found a need to even make this post or those hollow threats of not coming to south GA.”

Spencer said in a text message that his words were not meant as a threat, but instead a “warning to her of how people can behave about this issue.”

“She is from Atlanta – and the rest of Georgia sees this issue very differently,” said Spencer, who was elected in 2010 to represent the southeast Georgia district. “Just trying to keep her safe if she decided to come down and raise hell about the memorial in the back yards of folks who will see this as an unwelcome aggression from the left.”

Spencer also asked that we include a picture he provided of him standing in front of the Martin Luther King Jr. monument that was unveiled Monday on the Georgia Capitol grounds.

Jones said in an interview that Spencer sat next to her for four years in the Georgia House and that they developed a friendly, if sometimes testy, relationship.

“If it were anybody other than Jason Spencer, then I would be alarmed. But we had a unique relationship in the Georgia Legislature,” said Jones, who served from 2012 to 2016. “If that had come from anybody else, I’d take it as a serious threat.”

Still, she added, she was “concerned” by his reaction.

“Because if that’s representative of what people in south Georgia think, then yikes.”

You can read the entire exchange below:


View Comments 71