Election complaint filed against Horgan

Tue, 03/14/2006 - 6:24pm
By: John Munford

A complaint has been filed against one of the candidates running in Tuesday’s special election for a seat on the Fayette County Commission.

The complaint against Republican Robert Horgan alleges that he improperly spent money on political advertisements before filing paperwork indicating he was going to officially seek office, said Marilyn Watts, chair of the Fayette County Board of Elections.

Horgan said Tuesday morning that he had not been made aware of the complaint, nor had he been invited to a special called meeting Tuesday night of the Fayette County Board of Elections where the complaint is to be discussed.

Horgan, who is one of five persons running for the seat, said he purchased the ads in The Citizen and The Fayette Daily News before the qualifying period.

“I didn’t do my paperwork until qualifying came about,” Horgan said. “Now if I did something wrong, I didn’t know about it.”

Horgan, a newcomer to politics, said he paid for the campaign ads with his own money.

“I was just excited about running for the Fayette County Commission and I wanted to tell people about it,” Horgan said.

According to Georgia law, a candidate cannot accept a campaign contribution until the candidate files a declaration of intent to accept campaign contributions.

Horgan said he was suspicious about the timing of the complaints to the elections board, since he recently complained about the local Republican Party treating him unfairly by allowing one of his opponents, Emory Wilkerson, space in the party’s recent newsletter without offering the same privilege to Horgan.

“Welcome to politics, I guess,” Horgan said.

There are three Republican candidates running for the seat, including Horgan, Wilkerson and Malcolm Hughes.

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mapleleaf's picture
Submitted by mapleleaf on Wed, 03/15/2006 - 6:57am.

So Robert Horgan spent some of his own money to tout his forthcoming candidacy for county commissioner.

(1) He did not accept a campaign contribution from someone else.

(2) He was not officially a candidate until he registered as one, and he could have given up the idea at any time before that.

(3) Above all, the First Amendment (and an equivalent provision in the Georgia Bill of Rights) affords him the right to free speech. The U.S. Constitution is the "supreme law of the land" and trumps all the petty little election laws our state legislators dream up.

--Actually, when you think of it, the complaint against him gives him nice free publicity and exposes the pettiness of others.

Submitted by schapman on Wed, 03/15/2006 - 9:07am.

Everyone is seeing right through this. Violation #1, Hobbs stated in the paper “Emory was a Republican before it was cool” which started the whole scandal. Chairman Greg Dunn appointed Marilyn Watts, Chairman of the County election office. Lane Watts and Greg Dunn appointed Richard Hobbs to represent the Republican party.
Violation #2, Watts calls an illegal call meeting to prosecute Horgan for spending his own money telling others to look for him qualifying for county commissioner.
This is what happened and you should get an audio copy of the minutes on public records and see for yourself.
In a nut shell Horgan asked?

1. Show me the complaint of record. “There was not one. Said the board.”
2. He asks for the evidence that brought on the charge. “There wasn’t any.”
3. Did all members approve the call meeting? One member said, “I was not given proper notice to notify the paper of a call meeting.”

Robert again asks directly, “Hobbs and Watts if you are saying that I did something wrong one month before qualifying. Why would you on the eve of the election try to attack me? The answer is that you are doing every thing you can to help Emory at all cost!” This is what gives people little patience with the political process. Horgan also said that what you two are doing is a clear violation of an abuse of power, which you should not have. BEING AN OFFICAL ELECTION OFFICER YOU ARE TO BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR YOUR ACTIONS! The State Election Office in Atlanta has requested all copies of the findings for the CLEAR political attacks by Watts and Hobbs. Maybe they can bring us justice.

Submitted by CherokeeKid on Fri, 03/17/2006 - 12:53pm.

Wow, Sammy boy, I can almost see the foam dripping from your rabid dog, race baiting mouth. You are so detached from reality, its scary that you are out among the rest of us. One good thing about you spewing your bile on this blog, you aren't out tearing other candidates' signs down and placing your boy's signs in their place. I'm frankly wayyyyyy tired of you littering the right of way with Robby's "Look at me, I'm WHITE" campaign signs. You and Robby should be ashamed of the vicious, racially tinged campaign that you have run. You and your puppet don't deserve a single vote come Tuesday.

You get your jollies attacking Hobbs and Watts' (both of them) motives in everything, but please remember, people in glass houses shouldn't throw rocks. Your boy violated basic campaign law, plain and simple and no matter how many screen names you get or how many other foolish people you get to blog to support you, it doesnt change that fact. Frankly, if I were Robby, I would be pretty steamed at you right now. You put him up to this campaign and then you let him twist in the wind by not doing something so elementary as filing paperwork to be legal as a candidate. You have run before, you should know better. (Unless, of course, you yourself didn't bother with filing the proper paperwork when you started campaigning........hmmmmmm) So, you have made him look very foolish and you, by association, look foolish too. Really, Sammy, no one is impressed by how much money your family has; in your case, lots of money doesn't equal lots of class. Each day that passes, you are becoming the spoiled rich kid that isn't getting his way and is throwing a kicking, screaming tantrum. Don't worry Samuel, maybe Daddy will buy you the next election.

Submitted by GeorgiaPeach on Fri, 03/17/2006 - 8:01am.

What is a scandal is that the total out of control Sam Chapman is Horgan's mouthpiece. Horgan cannot put together a complete sentence. If he is elected is that stupid Sam going to sit behind him to do his talking? Horgan is a RINO - Republican in name only. He doesn't vote even half the time and is totally clueless, uninformed and not teachable. He breaks the election laws and hollers when caught. He admits he broke the law, but questions the timing of the Election board. Guess he thinks it is OK since he didn't bother to find out the election laws. What other laws does he break? And he wants to sit on the Commission. PLEEEEEEEASE. Fayette County can do better.

Submitted by lilgrammadee on Thu, 03/16/2006 - 10:26pm.

Instead of attacking the people who made or took the complaint(s) schapman, try to explain why Mr. Horgan didn't read up on elections before he chose to run for office. Just like election officers, candidates and elected officials are also responsible for their actions. Mr. Horgan either was not intelligent enough to find out how to run properly or he chose to disreguard the rules. Personally, I do not care when the complaint was filed nor do I care who or how many filed it. If the complaints were false and Mr. Horgan had not ignored campaign rules I would have a problem with who and when. Since Horgan did ignore campaign rules, the timing or the person making the complaint is irrelevant.

Submitted by fantasticfayette on Thu, 03/16/2006 - 4:52pm.

I took a few mintues to find out the facts, anyone who really CARED about the facts could do the same thing. Herb Frady first appointed Marilyn Watts in 1998 (one year before Greg Dunn took office). Bost seconded. She was appointed again in 2002, again by Frady. VanLandingham seconded his motion. She was up again in 2005, Linda Wells made the motion on that one, Pfeifer seconded.

It's clear that you want to blame Dunn for everything that goes on no matter how far fetched.

The fact that Horgan didn't bother to figure out how to run before he bought ads in the newspapers has been a topic of conversation for months. I'm surprised that no one put in a complaint before now but most people are a little hesitant to take that kind of action.

I wish it had happened earlier but it doesn't matter. He was wrong, he couldn't take the time to study the rules and he broke laws. I can't imagine anyone taking something so important so lightly.

Submitted by fayetteobservers on Wed, 03/15/2006 - 9:23am.

Voters do not care about these complaints. They see them for what they are--- last minutesmears on the candidate. Nearly every politician cheats in the election campaigns so the complaint process is silly. Sonny uses a chopper for free for a year in his campaign and says "Whoops, I forgot."

This "Complaint" is a well orchestrated smear by the impotent Fayette GOP wine and cheese crowd. I have voted in every election since 1968, and I have voted for every Republican presidential candidate. But the Fayette GOP crowd is joke. They have supported Democrats and countless RINO's so no one takes them as the voice of Republican policy. Mommy Marilyn and Trial Lawyer Hobbs waited quietly for weeks so they could pounce on Horgan the week before the election. And these people are the superintendents of the election? Boy that's scary !!!!

Let's see if Complaints are relevant next summer, like the election complaint that Eric Maxwell and Eric Viall had to defend. They cheated. Nobody cares. And nobody should care about this complaint.

Submitted by GeorgiaPeach on Fri, 03/17/2006 - 8:09am.

Saying all candiates cheat is ridiculous. We have many honorable elected officials. I respect those who offer themselves for public service. Most are honest and try to do the right thing. Horgan's attitude reeks. I hope we don't have a chance to see what a horrible commissioner he will be. As for the GOP supporting many democrats and rinos, can you name them?

JWM's picture
Submitted by JWM on Fri, 03/17/2006 - 10:01am.

Horgan is correct. Hobbs & Crew wrong. Where are the accusers ? Why anonymous ? Where are the subject materials? The answer lies in the fact that this was a last minute political attack and not a real complaint. Hobbs and crew want to be active politicos and public officials in the very same subject. You can't do both. The Elections Board should be the judge of disputes. They should do that with honor. These they have not done. The local GOP social club has no significance. The unfortunate thing is that Mr. Wilkerson is now connected to this crowd.

H. Hamster's picture
Submitted by H. Hamster on Tue, 03/14/2006 - 8:10pm.

If Emory is the one who filed the complaint, it shows he's running scared and I will have lost all respect for him and vote for Robert.

If someone else is behind the complaint, it is petty and inconsequential, in which case I will vote for Robert.

When candidates attack each other personally over petty issues, they show their true colors. That normally makes them a bad choice for a leadership role in the county.

Candidates who do not attack will get my vote every time. How about the rest of you?

Submitted by CherokeeKid on Fri, 03/17/2006 - 1:12pm.

Hamster says:

If Emory is the one who filed the complaint, it shows he's running scared and I will have lost all respect for him and vote for Robert.

If someone else is behind the complaint, it is petty and inconsequential, in which case I will vote for Robert.

Also, if Emory breathes, talks or walks, I will vote for Robert.

Such stunning logic, Hamster.

WakeUp's picture
Submitted by WakeUp on Wed, 03/15/2006 - 9:09am.


It sounds as if your mind is already made up. You will vote for Robert if Emory filed the complaint. If someone else did, you will still vote for Robert. "Attacking" an opponent in an election is often the only means voters have of getting a story (or at least a hint of underlying traits). I too hate the bickering and wish all debates or comments were strictly on the issues, but the candidates will be under examination every day they are in office. They need to get used to it.

If you only vote for someone who does not attack (or even question the opponents) who do you vote for. In every campaign, the candidates will comment on the others and what their issues are.

Wake UP!

Submitted by yada yada yada on Tue, 03/14/2006 - 9:31pm.

You might try once in a while to find out what you are talking about before you post your blogs. Breaking election laws is not petty. A bad choice for leadership is someone who doesn't bother to vote and who doesn't bother to find out the laws governing elections before embarking on a run for office. A bad choice is someone who ignors the law about where to put his campaign signs. (Like on the right a way and on vacant porperties without permission.) I don't want someone who cannot obey the law in office. You don't have a clue who filed the complaint, but yet you blah blah blah.

Submitted by fantasticfayette on Thu, 03/16/2006 - 4:40pm.

If someone running for office can't find the ten minutes it takes to vote once or twice a year every so often, if they can't bother to figure out what the rules are in an election how in the world are they going to handle the tough issues that the commissioners have to deal with? I understand Robert Horgan hasn't even bothered to attend any of the commission meetings. If I were running I'd take the time to go to the meetings for at least a few months to find out what the issues are and how the current commissioners deal with them.

Sounds like SChapman is protesting a little too much. I heard he did the same thing in his election but no one reported him. Maybe this is hitting just a little too close to home for him!

For what it's worth, not that SChapman or Hamster will care, Greg Dunn couldn't have had anything to do with Hobbs appointment if he wanted to. It's a Republican Party board decision and there's quite a few good Republicans on the board. Until recently elected officials, like Greg Dunn, didn't have a vote at all (they changed it at the last Republican convention). Lane Watts couldn't do it on his own. I am always amazed at how people twist reality to fit their mind-set. Facts rarely matter.

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