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Posted: Wednesday, August 16th 2006 at 12:35pm

Name-calling, assault charged in state House race

By The Associated Press

A supporter of a GOP nominee for state representative wants one of his opponents arrested, following a testy run-in on the campaign trail in which each claims the other used the epithets "racist" and a "fat pig."

The complaint targets Mary Wilhite of Sixes, Ga., who lost the Aug. 8 primary runoff to Sean Jerguson by 35 votes. Wilhite had sought to become the first black woman elected to state office in Georgia as a Republican.

Lee Martin, a Jerguson supporter, told sheriff's deputies that as he campaigned the day before the runoff, Wilhite followed him around, calling him a "liar," "racist" and "fat pig."

Martin, who is white, told officers Wilhite also was ripping campaign fliers out of his hands before he could hand them to people in cars stopped at a traffic light.

Martin applied Friday for an arrest warrant charging Wilhite with assault, interference with a state political campaign and violating his free speech.

Wilhite calls the charges pure politics.

"They are meritless, senseless and baseless," she said. "I am confident that they will be dismissed."

She told deputies Martin was "spreading lies" about her on the fliers he was passing out, but denied taking the fliers from him, according to a sheriff's report.

She said Martin was the one who called her a "racist" and "fat pig."

A magistrate court hearing on Friday will determine if there is probable cause for a warrant to be issued for Wilhite's arrest.

"She needs to be held accountable for this," Martin said. "To prevent anyone else from doing this in Cherokee (County) in the future, this needs to be carried through."

Wilhite has asked for a re-count in the runoff because of the close finish. The re-count is scheduled for Thursday.



Associated Categories: State News

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