All too many political campaigns unfortunately bring out off-base or obscure figures spreading half-truths, outright lies or even fantasies. Georgia's upcoming July 21 party primaries are no exception.
Perhaps the most harmless is Democrat Dr. Carlton Myers. He's running for governor to oppose a "conspiracy" to control the state by the Georgia Power Co., the Atlanta newspapers and one-time Augustan Carl Sanders. He even babbles that "hit men" are eliminating people who might expose this conspiracy! (We're surprised the pope or the Masons aren't involved -- but we'd better not give this paranoid any ideas.)
The most obnoxious local smear merchant is shadowy vacuum cleaner salesman Sterling Gray -- who doesn't even live in the district of Rep. Robin Williams, R-Augusta. He has been distributing hate sheets against the incumbent, who's in a three-way primary. Key votes have been totally distorted (example: Williams has repeatedly voted against racial preferences; the flyer claims he's for them) and one of many zany accusations is that Williams is somehow linked to the Healthmaster scandal. (Maybe Dr. Myers helped Sterling Gray with that whopper.)
Perhaps the closest runner-up to Gray in terms of flinging mud is Bruce Hatfield, a fringe GOP candidate for governor. He's busy cranking out tawdry press releases speculating on rumors about the personal life of fellow Republican candidate Guy Millner and his wife.
One unfortunate consequence of these mud peddlers is that some potential voters may stay away from the polls because "politics is so dirty." To the contrary, voters ought to be angry at such tactics and go out of their way to do homework on the many candidates by reading media reports, attending political forums or watching televised debates.