Georgia candidate sets up site to rebut opponent’s ‘deceptive’ claims


Republican lieutenant governor hopeful David Shafer’s campaign launched a website Tuesday aimed at rebutting claims being made by his runoff opponent.

Shafer’s campaign says mailers and a commercial paid for by a Washington-based political action committee contain “egregious lies” about the candidate.

Shafer, a state senator, is competing against former state Rep. Geoff Duncan in the July 24 runoff to be the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor.

The website, deceptiveduncan.com/lies, was launched as a way to “expose and rebut Duncan’s lies,” Shafer campaign spokesman Bryan Piligra said.

“Deceptive Geoff Duncan will say anything, no matter how untruthful or dishonest,” Piligra said. “Duncan has repeatedly and blatantly lied throughout his increasingly desperate campaign.”

In flyers paid for by the Hometown Freedom Action Network, the group refers to “Shady David Shafer” and alleges he is being sued on accusations of conspiracy, used his political position to get rich and used his power to shut down a sexual harassment investigation against him.

In April, Shafer was cleared by the state Senate Ethics Committee of accusations that he harassed a female lobbyist. Critics have pointed to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article noting that Shafer had donated to the campaigns of committee members, but those contributions came before the lawmakers took up the sexual harassment complaint.

In a press release and on its website, Shafer’s campaign responds to each claim made in the flyers.

For example, the website says that an AJC headline included on the mailer — “Candidate accused of conspiracy in CEO’s ouster” — was referring to a former Republican candidate for governor, Clay Tippins.

“Shafer is not named as a defendant or accused of wrongdoing in the Tippins lawsuit,” the campaign said.

According to the February article, the lawsuit also claims that one of the company’s owners gave Shafer an ownership stake worth nearly $100,000 in January 2014 for “personal reasons.” Shafer has called the allegation false and said he never received free shares.

Duncan campaign adviser John Porter called Shafer’s website “laughable.”

“It’s the sign of a campaign that has lost momentum that can’t even get basic facts straight,” he said. “Although, telling the truth seems to be a problem for David.”

An accusation on the site says Duncan in 2015 voted against House Bill 303, which would have penalized insurance companies that didn’t pay a claim in a timely manner. According to the Georgia General Assembly website, Duncan voted in favor of the bill.

“If their researcher couldn’t get this basic fact correct, I hope they’ve asked for a refund,” Porter said.

Shafer’s website comes nearly three weeks after Duncan launched one of his own, www.ShaferWhistleblowers.com, which seeks anonymous tips about how Shafer earns a living or allegations of corruption during Shafer’s time in public office.

2018 campaign

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is covering the issues and candidates in a busy election year. Gun rights, immigration and tax policy were all issues that factored in the results of the Georgia primary, and they were all stories the AJC covered in the run-up to the vote. Look for more at PoliticallyGeorgia.com as the state approaches the next political milepost, the July 24 runoff.


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