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.
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.