State Sen. Michael Williams’ GOP opponents in the governor’s race treated his “deportation bus tour” as a last gasp from a desperate candidate. Democrats aim to weaponize the attention-grabbing stunt to tie him to his better-known rivals.
Trailing far behind the GOP field – an 11 Alive poll released Tuesday had him at 3 percent – Williams sought to make a splash with a stark bus telling passing motorists that he’s riding with “murderers, rapists, kidnappers, child molestors (sic) and other criminals.” It adds: “Follow me to Mexico.”
Democrat Stacey Evans called Williams’ stance “absolutely disgusting and hateful” and then urged other Republicans to reject them.
“I call on Michael Williams all of the candidates on the Republican side – including Casey Cagle, including Brian Kemp, including Hunter Hill - to stop the attacks on the immigrant community,” said Evans, naming the candidates leading the polls.
Her rival in Tuesday’s vote, Stacey Abrams, offered a similar response.
“I’m deeply ashamed we have someone standing for high office who would be so petty and mean-spirited. Unfortunately, this xenophobia is not alien to the rest of the Republican field,” she said. “It not only hurts the reputation of Georgia, it hurts the families who rely on us and depend on us.”
At a stop in Clarkston, one of Georgia’s most diverse cities, protesters swarmed Williams’ bus waving signs that read “Stop Racism” and “Stop Hate.”
The five-man GOP field has raced to the party’s conservative flanks on gun rights, abortion restrictions and “religious liberty” support. But one of the sharpest arguments revolves around how aggressively they’ll combat illegal immigration.
Williams has staked his campaign on fealty to President Donald Trump and a series of publicity-seeking moves. But he’s raised little campaign cash and an analysis of TV data shows he’s spent scant money on advertisements.
Read more recent AJC coverage of the campaign for governor: