Explosive ad transforms Ga. attorney general race

By: GREG BLUESTEIN Associated Press 07/13/10 11:20 PM EDT ATLANTA — When the TV ad…

Georgia (Jul 14, 2010)

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Associated Press
07/13/10 11:20 PM EDT

ATLANTA — When the TV ad appeared featuring a grief-stricken mother urging the public not to vote for a state attorney general candidate, the Georgia primary season took a sharp turn.

Even in a state known for tough political ads, the spot was eye-catching. And risky.

With less than a week before the state primary, the bare-knuckles race for attorney general has managed to make the battle for governor appear almost tame in comparison.

Kenneth Walker's mother, Emily, is featured in the 30-second spot for Democratic state Rep. Rob Teilhet, criticizing his opponent Ken Hodges for failing to secure a grand jury indictment against the deputy who shot and killed her unarmed son in a case that exposed racial tensions in west Georgia.

"He was lying on the ground unarmed when a police officer shot him twice in the head," Emily Walker says in the ad, which began airing last week. "But the officer got off because the prosecutor, Ken Hodges, forgot to swear him in, tried to hide the video and then refused to reopen the case. I could never get an answer why."

The advertisement has put Hodges on the defensive ahead of the July 20 primary, forcing him to answer questions about the handling of the Walker case. …

Observers say the ad is likely the biggest bombshell yet this political season, though it's effect remains to be seen.

"It's definitely hard-hitting — it sort of floors you when you see it," said Kerwin Swint, a Kennesaw State University political science professor who wrote a book on negative campaigning.

Swint said some voters will be put off by the ad, but it could resonate with others.

"Some will say it's inappropriate and that they shouldn't have gone there," Swint said. "But the ad itself is well done enough that it could have the impact that Teilhet wanted — to raise questions about Hodges and his tenure as district attorney."



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