Maria Sheffield campaign accuses Wright McLeod of intimidation tactics

With a couple of days to go before all four Republican candidates for the District 12 congressional seat meet for an Evans debate, two of them already are tangling.

Maria Sheffield’s campaign on Tuesday accused Wright McLeod of “going negative” and “using the Demo­cratic tactic of tracking” after a McLeod staffer videotaped Sheffield’s recent speech to Greater Columbia County Republican Women.

The campaign accused the staffer of taping Thursday’s speech in an “attempt to intimidate and go negative,” an e-mailed announcement stated.

Noting that McLeod recently acknowledged voting in the Democratic presidential primary in 2008 and donating more than $7,000 to a Democratic candidate in 2010, the e-mail said McLeod’s campaign “is openly using Democratic attack tactics to stalk and try to intimidate his ‘fellow’ Republicans – notably, Maria Sheffield.”

McLeod’s campaign didn’t take the charge seriously.

“Would you like to meet the tracker?” asked McLeod staffer Holly Croft, laughing. “It’s me.”

Croft said she’s a member of the Columbia County group and admitted taping Shef­field’s speech.

“Every single candidate, including folks from Shef­field’s campaign, have taped other folks talking just so you have a record of what they’re saying,” Croft said. “To single our campaign out to say, ‘Oh, they’re doing this to intimidate me’? No. Not at all.”

Croft added that she personally has never voted on a Democratic ballot, “and I vote every time.”

Sheffield and McLeod will meet fellow Republican candidates Lee Anderson and Rick Allen at a debate Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Ja­bez Sanford Hardin Perfor­ming Arts Center in the Co­lum­­bia County Library in Evans.

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