Six days – Williams, Parent fight to the end

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt May 15, 2014
Kyle Williams, center, listens while Ian Sugar, right, Deputy Political Director with the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, speaks on his behalf during a May 15 press conference. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Kyle Williams, center, listens while Ian Sugar, right, Deputy Political Director with the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, speaks on his behalf during a May 15 press conference. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

The two candidates running in the Democratic primary for the Senate District 42 seat are taking their intraparty fight down to the wire ahead of the May 20 primary.

On May 15, Decatur attorney Kyle Williams called a press conference about a recent mailer from former state representative Elena Parent’s campaign.  Both candidates are running to replace state Sen. Jason Carter, who is running against incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal.

The mailer links Williams to the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of conservative gays and lesbians that endorsed Mitt Romney for president in 2012.

“The same Republican group that endorsed Mitt Romney endorsed Kyle too,” the mailer says.

Williams received the endorsement in 2009 when he ran for Decatur City Commission.

Williams gathered his supporters at his Decatur office and described the mailer as an affront to gays and lesbians.

“The ad that hit mailboxes yesterday was not an attack of me,” Williams said. “It was not a debate of the issues. It was not a legitimate conversation about voting records … It instead was an intentional act to divide the LGBT community, to pit the LGBT community against itself, and my opponent did it because she knows that she cannot go toe to toe with me on who best represents this district.”

Within minutes of the press conference, Parent’s campaign sent out an email attacking Williams for defending the endorsement of Log Cabin Republicans. The press release quotes state Rep. Karla Drenner, D-Avondale Estates, who is openly gay and endorsed parent.

“This is not an LGBT issue,” Drenner said. “This is a Democratic Primary and this Republican group spews vitriol at Democrats on a daily basis in its news feed. As recently as Tuesday, they posted an article accusing President Obama of ignoring terrorists. I can assure you Elena would never accept the endorsement of the Georgia Federation of Republican Women or the Concerned Women for America.”

The Log Cabin Republicans dispute is not new to the campaign. It was raised back in March, when Williams’ campaign accused Parent of conducting a poll that linked Williams to the conservative group.

It also isn’t the only disputed claim among the candidates.

Politifact Georgia recently rated Williams’ claim that Parent voted to cut HOPE Scholarship funding as “false.”

During the press conference on May 15, Williams said he stands by his initial assessment.

“Votes matter,” Williams said. “Read the article. District 42 does not need someone as its next senator someone who depends on second chances to get the progressive response the first time. She blinked on HOPE, and she took the vote that we say that she took.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include the information that Williams received the endorsement of the Log Cabin Republicans in his 2009 race for Decatur City Commission. 

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

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  • Prefer neither

    I liked both these candidates in the beginning of this race and was unsure which one I preferred. I’ve become totally disenchanted with both of them for their negative campaigns. I want to hear about their own accomplishments, views, and plans, not how clever they can be in attacking the other. Now I’m not sure which one I disapprove of less.

  • Brad

    District 42 is probably the ONLY locale in Georgia where the two candidates have to “out-liberal” each other. All to be at a State House where they will have no power and make little difference, like Bo Callaway all those years ago.

  • Cindy L. Abel

    The article missed the point: Mailer said Williams received endorsement of same group that supported Romney. He didn’t: the *national* organization which endorses federal candidates can’t endorse local candidates. The *local* group, which was standing with other LGBT groups in a non-partisan race, does not endorse federal candidates. If nothing else, the mailer is *intentionally* misleading.
    The local group also endorsed other well-known, progressive LGBT Democrats such as Alex Wan and Kecia Cunningham (among other Dems): is Parent’s campaign also accusing them of being too conservative?
    And, the question needs to be asked: why is the campaign not clearly stating the name of the group? Is it because they don’t want voters to know they’re attacking Williams for accepting support from an LGBT group? Hopefully voters will look beyond the mud-slinging and realize that a closeted attack is still an attack.

  • Randy B.

    Cindy nails it.

  • Private Ire

    A Democrat who accepts any funding of any kind from a well known source that openly supports Republican interests is a non-starter…period.

    • GAVoter

      Hmmmm maybe Elena should return that $$ from Exxon Mobil???

    • Cindy L. Abel

      Kyle never accepted any funding from a Republican group – altho’ the campaign mailers would make voters think so… and that intention is very revealing about his opponent.

      • Private Ire

        Perhaps Mr. Williams should publish his records including copies of donation instruments. Merely saying something isn’t so does not make it factual. Lets see, seems simple enough, then we will all know. Regardless, any collaboration with the Republican machine is again, a non-starter for ANY Democratic candidate.

        • Cindy L. Abel

          The campaign finance report have been public since 2009. It’s all right there – or rather, isn’t, since he never took any Republican funds.

  • Rick Derris

    I’m not too bothered by any of the attacks; politics is a tough game. Honestly, it’s refreshing to have 2 solid candidates and regardless of the outcome I hope they both stay in public service. The state needs young, smart, liberal voices to counterbalance the conservative stranglehold.

    • Prefer neither

      Trying to look at the mudslinging positively because agree that young, smart, liberal voices are needed and refreshing. But I also respect diplomacy and fairness. Save the political bile for where it belongs–with the conservative stranglehold. I think it’s going to be a little hard for either Parent or Williams to take the moral high ground after this distasteful, if not genuinely dirty, campaigning.

      • Rick Derris

        You think this has been a distasteful campaign? You obviously haven’t followed local and state politics for the last 30 years.

        • Prefer neither

          Oh, I know it could be a lot worse. But I just didn’t think of either Kyle or Elena as the negative campaigning types. Naively thought good candidates could be above it. Won’t ever think of them the same again. In four years, if a contender of their caliber can figure out how to campaign on what they have to offer vs. how bad their opponents are, that’s who will get my vote.

          I actually had a sign for one of these guys on my lawn, but took it down after a negative ad. Was going to put up the other guy’s sign, but didn’t bother after seeing the tit-for-tat going on. So it was eenie meenie minie mo in the voting booth.

  • Annoyed

    Regardless of what Cindy is trying to claim, if you look into it what Parent says is actually true. Williams’ mailer is completely false (and he sent out another one with the same discredited claims in it after it was shown to be false). It’s a different question altogether if anyone should give a hoot about it. The truth is that either of them will probably do a fine job. Unfortunately the state is so gerrymandered that there isn’t much that they can do, period.

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