Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson. Facebook photo.
Photo: Greg Bluestein/Political Insider blog
Photo: Greg Bluestein/Political Insider blog

Georgia Senate: Ex-Tomlinson staffer blasts Democrat’s ‘cruel’ behavior

Georgia Senate candidate Teresa Tomlinson’s former finance director blasted the Democrat’s “thoughtless and cruel” behavior after she was let go by the campaign.

Edana Walker, a well-respected former Stacey Abrams fundraising guru, said in a series of tweets on Sunday that she was “fired” last week by Tomlinson, who has struggled to keep up with rivals in the fundraising race despite an early head start. 

Then Walker detailed what she described as an unsettling conversation with Tomlinson, a former Columbus mayor who is one of four leading Democrats competing to challenge U.S. Sen. David Perdue next year. 

From her tweet: 

“She's a politician so she talked about ‘valuing’ & ‘honoring’ me while telling me she wanted me out & asking me if I could recommend someone new. Which. Y'all. Don't do that. If you ever fire someone, do not ask them to find their replacement. It's thoughtless and cruel.”

“Do them the kindness of not requesting additional labor from them to recruit someone new for the position you had them move to a new town to occupy. And if you did value this person, don't let them leave your office without even offering a handshake as a show of mutual respect.”

Tomlinson’s spokeswoman said the campaign would not address personnel issues. The ex-staffer’s criticism came a day after Tomlinson debuted her new campaign office in Columbus with a splashy event. 

‘Tired of tiptoeing’

Tomlinson raised about $520,000 the first three months of her campaign, when she was the only Democrat in the race. That fundraising performance did little to scare off rivals

She finished the latest fundraising quarter, which stretched from July to September, by raising about $380,000 and reported less than $300,000 in her bank account. 

That lagged behind two other Democratic rivals: Jon Ossoff had about $1.3 million in his coffers and Sarah Riggs Amico reported about $425,000 on hand, thanks mostly to a loan.

Walker, who records show drew a salary of roughly $10,000 a month, is a former Democratic National Committee staffer and Washington consultant who built a reputation in Georgia by helping Abrams shatter fundraising records last year.

In her tweets, she praised Kendra Cotton, Tomlinson’s campaign manager, and other senior staffers she described as “very good, deeply kind, funny, hardworking people.” 

Walker added that she didn’t announce her termination right away because she didn’t want to “rock the boat.” But she said she’s “tired of tiptoeing around candidates who know how to lead but not necessarily how to listen.” 

Walker was replaced by Steve Leeds, a veteran finance guru who worked on the campaigns of both U.S. Sen. Max Cleland and Michelle Nunn, the 2014 Democratic nominee. 

A pro-Perdue PAC has criticized Leeds’ former role as senior counsel to the General Services Administration. He was fired after the fallout of a report about lavish spending at a Las Vegas conference in 2012. 

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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