Lee County-- The Republican runoff for the house District 137 seat is getting a lot more interesting. Tuesday, candidate Darrel Ealum spoke out against negative campaigning.
His opponent, Ed Rynders, says Ealum is crying 'wolf,' and one Republican party leader says a war of words could be detrimental in November.
Two candidates vying for the District 137 GOP nomination both say they are not running a negative campaign. But Darrel Ealum spoke out about what he says are personal attacks on him and his family, though he would not say what he thought was offensive. "I'm not going to be pulled into the mud by my opponent. I will take the high road, and do things that the Republican party has to do in November."
His opponent, Ed Rynders, says he has publicly questioned Ealum's motivation in three different instances. Rynders says, "In 1994 his residency came into question, in 1996 he changed parties, and again in 2001 there are residency questions. Its a clear pattern that voters will see he will do anything to run."
Rynders says he does not think bringing these issues into the race qualifies for negative campaigning, "Accusations of negative campaigning are always used when they can't answer the accusations. He has no answer to the three charges we've said."
Dougherty County Republican Party Chairman, Gary Smith, says any "mud-slinging" between the candidates could hurt the nominee's chances of winning in November. Smith says, "I work with both Darrel and Ed and try to stress to them the vision ultimately is to win, what Darrel and Ed will do not what they've done." And, the vision for both candidates is not only to win the Republican party's nomination, but take the seat November 5th.
Darrel Ealum says he is a certified candidate, and his residency is a non issue. Ealum also says his party switch in 1995 is not uncommon, and other prominent Republicans, like Gubernatorial candidate Sonny Perdue, have also changed parties. The run-off will be held September 10th.