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Disclosures show Scotts self-funding DA race

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

The two candidates for Clayton County District Attorney each spent about $39,000, in the months before a primary vote put them in a runoff, but the incumbent's campaign was mostly funded by her husband and the candidate herself.

Jewel Scott, seeking re-election to her second term as district attorney, raised just short of $8,000 in campaign contributions in the three months leading up to the July 15, Democratic primary election. She accepted contributions from Herman Talmadge, grandson of the late Georgia governor, Charley Griswell, former county commission chairman, and the "Friends of Darryl Jordan," head of the Clayton County legislative delegation.

Scott's campaign accepted $31,000 in loans, during that same time frame. All of the loans are attributed to Lee and Jewel Scott, in the disclosure form filed with the State Ethics Commission.

Earl Randall, the district attorney's former chief of staff and former campaign treasurer, has sued the Scott's for $1 million, claiming the Scotts fired him for political reasons. In his suit, Randall alleges that "Lee Scott was observed slamming his fist into a table at Fridays Restaurant while eating lunch with Jewel Scott and several employees [from her office]. Lee Scott was heard screaming at Jewel Scott that the CCDA [Clayton County District Attorneys Office] was his house and he ran his house. He paid $250,000 for Jewel Scott's election."

Lee Scott also is in a run-off race, challenging incumbent Eldrin Bell in a bid to become chairman of the Clayton County Board of Commissioners. As of Friday, Scott had not filed his own campaign disclosure report.

At the end of June, Jewel Scott's campaign had a deficit balance, having spent $115 more than the $38,900 she had.

Most of the money was spent on billboards, according to the disclosure report, but Jewel Scott also reported spending $2,000 on volunteers, paying for meals, gas, phone calls and "miscellaneous," and spending $2,400 on "sign placement," money given to a Riverdale construction company.

Meanwhile, Tracy Graham Lawson, who is challenging Jewel Scott in the upcoming Aug. 5 runoff, also reported a campaign debt. According to the juvenile judge's campaign disclosure form, she lent her campaign about $13,400, and raised $37,200.

Much of Lawson's money came from the county's legal community. Judges Van Banke, Steve Teske, John Carbo, and William Ison all contributed to her campaign, as did former district attorney Bob Keller, attorneys Lee Sexton, Leon Hicks, Darrel Hopson and Tamika Hrobowki.

She also accepted money from Eldrin Bell and from the receptionist at the Board of Commissioners, Linda Icard.

Lawson spent about $39,200, ending June with a balance of more than $10,000.

Her biggest single expense, reported in the disclosure report, was television commercials, which cost the campaign $6,000 in May and $3,000 in June. Lawson also spent campaign money on signs, printings, lumber and an auger drill bit, a $5,200 mailing, and $1,800 in 50-cents-a-mile auto-expense reimbursements to herself and her husband.

The winner of the Democratic primary race between Scott and Lawson will become district attorney in January. There is no Republican challenger in November.