ATLANTA -- With a subtle reference to the Clinton sex scandal, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Roy Barnes on Thursday began swinging back at Republican contender Guy Millner through TV ads claiming his opponent is a tax dodger and campaign cheat.
"Now more than ever ... character matters," Mr. Barnes' newest commercial says.
The ad was released only hours before an ethics complaint was filed against Mr. Barnes accusing him of getting illegal or undisclosed campaign help from Life College chiropractors and faculty and failing to include his ties to a number of companies on disclosure forms.
Earlier this year, Mr. Millner was fined a record $12,700 for failing to disclose hundreds of contributions and expenditures during his 1994 gubernatorial race against Gov. Zell Miller.
The latest complaint was filed by Winston Campbell, chairman of the Atlanta Young Republicans. Mr. Campbell said his complaint was not in response to Mr. Barnes' ad attacking Mr. Millner.
Instead, he acknowledged having a "personal vendetta" against Mr. Barnes, in part because the candidate once voted against creating a holiday for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. during the 1980s. Mr. Campbell said Mr. Barnes also is waging a battle of "class warfare" against Mr. Millner, a temporary-services magnate who has listed a net worth of $167 million.
"We really have a problem with Roy Barnes ... the fact that he is constantly attacking Guy Millner," Mr. Campbell said. "Roy Barnes is very unethical."
Mr. Barnes has called the King holiday vote his "biggest mistake," and he helped kill legislation this year that would have banned affirmative action in Georgia, which gained him black support.
Bobby Kahn of Mr. Barnes' campaign suggested Mr. Campbell's filing was aimed at diverting attention from questions about Mr. Millner's ethics violations.Mr. Barnes said his latest ad was merely responding to months of attacks from Mr. Millner.