Newcomer Carson wins Franklin’s seat
by Jon Gillooly
jgilloolly@mdjonline.com
October 19, 2011 12:00 AM | 2855 views | 18 18 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
NORTHEAST COBB — Voters chose political rookie John Carson to fill the east Cobb seat held by the late state Rep. Bobby Franklin in a Tuesday runoff.

Carson, 40, a SunTrust finance manager, received 1,250 votes, or 65.2 percent, compared to former state Sen. Robert Lamutt, who received only 668 votes, or 34.8 percent, according to the unofficial results published by the Cobb Board of Elections.

“I’m just very, very thankful to my friends and supporters, and my wife, Beverly, so much for supporting me through his whole thing,” said Carson, who celebrated the returns surrounded by friends and family at O’Charley’s off Shallowford Road. “It’s been trying, but we’re going to take some time off, her and I and the kids, and I just look forward to representing northeast Cobb.”

Carson and Lamutt emerged from a five-candidate special election on Sept. 20 to square off in the runoff scheduled after Franklin was found dead in his home on July 26 after complaining of chest pains.

In that special election, Carson received 801 votes, or 35.63 percent, compared to Lamutt’s 699 votes, or 31.09 percent.

With more than 30,000 registered voters in District 43, the majority didn’t cast a vote for anyone in either election.

Kennesaw State University professor Dr. Kerwin Swint has referred to Lamutt as the Republican establishment’s candidate, and that point is underscored by the list of his campaign contributors, which includes Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock), U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta), state Rep. Matt Dollar (R-east Cobb) and Tricia Pridemore, who worked on Gov. Nathan Deal’s campaign.

Yet Carson said his newcomer status played in his favor.

“That’s exactly what we ran on: a new conservative voice,” Carson said. “That was what we kept repeating over and over. Everytime I talked about ‘we don’t need more career politicians,’ it kind of played into my favor when he was talking about he was endorsed by this person and that person and that person.”

Swint also believes voters were looking for a fresh voice.

“I think there’s a sense out there that they need somebody with some ideas and energy who hasn’t gotten a chance to serve before, but also those establishment contributions don’t always bring with them votes, so it doesn’t always carry through in bringing people to the polls,” Swint said.

There is also the point that a seasoned candidate like Lamutt can bring past baggage into the race.

“There are people in Cobb County who remember Robert’s time, and not all of them, I guess, remember it fondly,” Swint said.

Lamutt did not return calls after the polls revealed that he had lost, but earlier in the day he accused Carson of running a negative campaign.

“My purpose in this was to see whether or not we could keep it totally straight up, totally clean, whether or not it was necessary to go negative to win, and we hope and think that it isn’t necessary,” Lamutt said Tuesday afternoon. “He was 100 percent negative. He sent out four hit pieces. Zero positive pieces. … Everything was 100 percent ‘Robert’s bad, so vote for me.’”

One factor that may have hurt Lamutt was reports detailing several liens worth $136,500 which the IRS filed against him for taxes owed by his business. Lamutt said he was slammed by the commercial real estate market and rather than declare bankruptcy and fire all his employees, decided to enter a payment plan with the IRS. But he was sharply criticized online, as well as places like the Madison Forum, for owing the IRS money.

A state campaign finance report filed on Monday revealed Lamutt had total contributions to date of $41,860 and a balance of $4,806.

Lamutt outraised Carson, who by comparison reported total contributions of $24,934 with a balance of $4,796.

Carson and his wife, Beverly, have two children: Elizabeth, 3; and Jack, 2. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Georgia State University and a master’s in finance from Kennesaw State University.

“I think Lamutt wanted to more or less count on his name recognition,” Carson said. “I think he wanted to count more on that, and I think what put me over the edge was a lot of personal contact with the voters.”
Comments
(18)
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anonymous
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October 20, 2011
Jim Carson, please know that more than a few Libs are open minded and will respond to reason and solid principles when expressed clearly and coherently. They also tend to often have a sense of humor...even a snarky sense of humor. Unfortunately, more than a few of them actually are mindless and will never be receptive to reason or principles...no matter how far you bend over backward.

My comment was directed only to the hyperbolic bus comment. Perhaps I should have opted for more compassion than snark. For the more sensitive or humorless it might have been better if I had said "Lib in Cobb, please don't harm yourself because you are forced to vote for a conservative. It would be mindless to do that!" Maybe that would bring some of them back/over.

Peace.

PS - glad to have John on-board.
Jim Carson
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October 20, 2011
Aw c'mon, Anonymous.

Despite the hyperbolic bus comment, Lib in Cobb's response was quite gracious. Let's be better winners than that. While we may never persuade Lib, our comments are read by those on the fence whom we seek to endear to our principles.
amr1717
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October 19, 2011
Congrats John. You were the first candidate that I have ever worked for (volunteered). I did not know you personally until you called me and answered my tough questions. Once I saw how petty the opponent's campaign workers behaved by covering up your campaign signs with their own, I knew that I had backed the right person for this job. Best of luck to you and I know you'll represent us well.
anonymous
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October 19, 2011
RE: Lib in Cobb @ Wednesday, Oct 19 at 03:54 PM » I would throw myself under a moving bus before I would vote for a conservative.--

Lib in Cobb, it sounds like you qualify as one of the mindless Libs. At which school do you teach?

Jim Carson
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October 19, 2011
Hi Harry,

If you check the voting records in Connecticut, I'm sure you'll find evidence of John's voting in both the general election and the Republican primary.
Harry S
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October 19, 2011
Hate to rain on anyone's parade but it should be fun to watch the election next year. When someone runs for office, they should a least have a record of voting in the last several years. Carson did not even vote for President in the last election. Where was he the past 5 years, does anyone know his record? Anyone? Ouch! I wish him well and will watch the legislative session with interest, hopefully I will not cringe.
Lib in Cobb
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October 19, 2011
@Jim Carson: The radical views and proposed legislation of Franklin would qualify him as a nut case in most circles. I am not sure how an extremist like Franklin gets elected in the first place. I am relieved that he is no longer in office.

Good luck to John.

I would throw myself under a moving bus before I would vote for a conservative.

Thank you for your response.
Jim Carson
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October 19, 2011
@Lib in Cobb:

I hope I can assure you that my brother will not pursue the "Franklin Lunacy Miscarriage Bill." The radical tendencies of the late Bobby Franklin are precisely what motivated John to contemplate a run in the first place.

He felt strongly that the district was poorly represented by Franklin because, due to his extreme views, his fellow legislators didn't take him seriously.

Since your handle is "Lib", I'll assume that you'll be disappointed in his consistently conservative legislative proposals, advocacy, and voting record, but you needn't worry about extremism.

For the record (this is my personal view and I don't speak for John), I don't think Franklin's bill was even conservative--it turns on its head the bedrock conservative principle of "innocent until proven guilty."
Swooper
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October 19, 2011
In the years that Lamutt was my State Senator, I never met him or saw him at a Party Function... not even a Breakfast.

I decided that I did not need to show up either.
LisaHanson
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October 19, 2011
First I would say to Robert Lamutt that the mailings Carson did were not "hit pieces" but accurate information regarding Mr. Lamutt's fiscal irresponsability. Secondly, John Carson won on his ability to get people like myself involved in the political process and take a stand against "good ole boy" career politicians who feel like they are "special" and above the law. John got my vote and my support, not by badmouthing you Robert Lamutt, but by putting himself out there, being accessible and running a great campaign that helped voters know what he is about. Great job John Carson. The voters of my district have finally woken up and have spoken!!!
anonymous
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October 19, 2011
--John Watts wrote on Wednesday, Oct 19 at 08:19 AM » I wonder how our new candidate, new to our county, who did not even vote in the last presidential election, is going to find 60 hours or more a week to work the legislative session with almost zero pay???--

John Watts, sorry you are so bitter post defeat of establishment/RINO LaMutt. You are going to need to get used to it, however. Change has started. MORE is coming.

FWIW, MANY people have now AWAKENED. They realize the RINO crew that has been driving the bus for the past years is not trustworthy or fiscally responsible or particularly smart. Citizens know it is time to stand up and stop the RINO band of mindless minions.

Jonathan Barrett
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October 19, 2011
The Truth is always the truth even when it hurts! John Carson won by doing good old fashioned hard work. Primarily, he just got out and talked with voters in person and found out what they really want. That is something career politicians should remember in the coming elections. Good Work John!
evan gammage
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October 19, 2011
John Watts . . ."Almost zero pay." . . . surely you jest.
anonymous
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October 19, 2011
Establishment Republicana...you are being warned.

Tough times ahead for you folks.

Change IS a comin'!
John Watts
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October 19, 2011
It is a sad day when a newcomer is seasoned enough to put out inaccurate hit pieces on another citizen candidate and then live in denial about what he had done and why he won. Politics as usual. I wonder how our new candidate, new to our county, who did not even vote in the last presidential election, is going to find 60 hours or more a week to work the legislative session with almost zero pay??? I don't expect much for our district, we may even get snubbed at the legislature.
Al in Marietta
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October 19, 2011
If the elections of 2010 taught us anything it is that the political "establishment" is no longer going to be given a pass. Carson won because he called more voters, wrote to more voters and asked more voters for their support.

Carson was out fund raised, and out endorsed by Lamutt. He was not out outworked.
Lib in Cobb
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October 19, 2011
I hope that Carson will not carry on with the out of control, soft headed proposed legislation of Franklin. In particular the "Franklin Lunacy Miscarriage Bill" that any woman who has a miscarriage be investigated to prove that she did or did not self abort.
Golden Thoughts
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October 19, 2011
LaMoot your claim you rain such a positive campaign is very shallow.

I guess Mr. Swint, may not be the electoral expert he thinks of himself.

The elected officials who gave Robert some money will have some 'splaining' to do about how think his tax evasion was good thing.

Next time LaMoot should show some class when dealing with the phone.

Is Robert going to put his house back on the market to short sell it?

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