Georgia House District 2 runoff candidates Neal Florence and Steve Tarvin are trading barbs soon after getting into the runoff.
The Tarvin campaign said, "Within hours of the final results from the Special Election on January 7th, candidate Neal Florence ignored the opportunity to focus on the issues that affect the people of this district. He immediately engaged in political mud-slinging and innuendo through a press release issued by his campaign."
The Florence campaign claimed that Mr. Tarvin was in violation of the law and stated, “With the ethical problems we have seen from some of our elected leaders, it is extremely disappointing to have a candidate for State House refuse to show where his money came from and how he spent it.” The statement was in reference to Mr. Tarvin’s campaign being five days late filing his financial disclosure. This was an unintentional error due to confusion of the filing deadline for a Special Election. After filing the disclosure and realizing the mistake, Mr. Tarvin said he immediately paid the $125 late fee associated with the error.
“Everyone makes mistakes and we acknowledge ours,” said Mr. Tarvin. “We did not expect such a sharp rebuke from Neal Florence due to his record of habitually filing late; and in some cases, not filing at all with the Georgia State Ethics Commission.”
He claimed that as of 8:30 p.m. on Friday, "Neal Florence currently owes $875 in unpaid fines for non-filed or late-filed campaign disclosures. According to public information available on the official website at www.ethics.ga.gov, Neal Florence has failed to file four financial disclosures that are more than twelve-months overdue. He also has unpaid fines for two disclosures that were filed six-months late and an additional fine for a financial disclosure that was three-months late. In total, Neal Florence has seven unpaid fines with the Georgia State Ethics Commission."
The Tarvin campaign said, "Career politicians such as Neal Florence have become so accustom to playing the 'political game,' they no longer see the hypocrisy of making accusations of impropriety, while being an egregious offender with seven unpaid fines.
"In a further show of grand political theater, Florence also expressed concern for where Tarvin’s campaign contributions came from, yet this information was publicly available at the time of his press release. Mr. Tarvin is so passionate in his desire to fix the mess at the Capitol in Atlanta; he financed much of his campaign with his own money and from various campaign contributions from local residents, which can be seen through his publicly available campaign disclosures.
"On the other hand, in another bold display of hypocrisy, career politician Neal Florence revealed in a campaign finance report that much of his campaign contributions were received from Atlanta lobbyists, PAC’s, lawyers and contributors far outside this district and even out of state."
Mr. Tarvin said, “I am truly saddened that political games like this are played. This isn’t Washington D.C., or Atlanta; this is our home, where our children and grandchildren go to school together, where we worship together and where we work each day trying to make this a better place to live.
“We are all neighbors and as such, we should treat each other with respect and honesty. Cheap political shots in a campaign to decide who will represent the people of this district are disappointing and frankly, it’s beneath the voters of this district. I pledge to always shoot straight with you and I ask my opponent to do the same.”