A new solution to bad press: File a restraining order against the reporter

Tom Owens, a candidate for a vacant seat on the DeKalb County Commission, has come up with a novel and disturbing way to push back against bad press. From the Associated Press:

A Georgia politician got a temporary restraining order earlier this week against a journalist blogger he accuses of threatening and harassing him.

Your daily jolt on politics from the AJC's Political insider blog

The writer, George Chidi, denied threatening the politician and said the move is a way for the candidate to avoid answering questions about his past ahead of an upcoming election.

Chidi said he's writing a book on civic engagement in Georgia and wanted to interview DeKalb County Commission District 1 candidate Tom Owens about the public's perception of him.

"I hadn't approached him until he became a public figure," Chidi said. "He's running for a seat that's open because the incumbent has resigned and is going to jail for corruption charges."

Owens said Chidi didn't identify himself as a blogger or journalist, and that the protective order is based on the aggressive way Chidi approached him at a mid-September candidate forum. The order, which was issued Monday, accuses Chidi of stalking and says he also approached Owens at a suburban Atlanta swimming and tennis club on Sunday.

"He was very threatening, bombastic and he wouldn't identify himself as any type of reporter or blogger or anything," Owens said. "I don't talk to anybody that threatens me."

Chidi said he spoke with Owens twice in September before trying again earlier this week and sending a series of text messages.

"I wanted to give him every possible chance to answer the questions," Chidi said.

The Huffington Post added these details about Chidi's backgrounding effort:

Chidi spoke with Owens' former fiancée, who claimed that he had financially abandoned her and their child. The story also described an instance in which the head of a Christian charity filed a police report against Owens for allegedly coming to her thrift shop, spitting on her door and saying that she had "insufficient hate" toward African Muslims.

Chidi's original piece in PeachPundit also included a bit of gubernatorial campaign action:

Thomas Mitchell Owens, if nothing else, has a keen sense of self-promotion. He has theatrically leafleted and harangued public figures on far-right anti-immigration issues for years, drawing himself into favor with the more zealous activists in the state. Owens is also a Vietnam vet who rejoined the Army at 55, as perhaps the oldest enlistee in Army history, drawing some Google-able media attention. But he’s plainly hoping to capitalize on his current claim to fame as [former DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine] Boyer’s principal accuser before the county’s ethics board.

Never mind, of course, that his accusations largely consisted of repeating claims made by a very expensive Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation. Let us please forget that Boyer resigned because the FBI had her dead to rights. His name’s on the dotted line on an ethics case.

That was enough to earn the praise of Governor Nathan Deal at a veteran’s event a couple weeks ago. “Well, Tom, I want to thank you for your diligence and your persistence as a citizen to make sure that everyone is held accountable, especially when they’re dealing with taxpayer funds and taxpayer resources,” Deal said while Owens’ cameraperson captured the scene. “You have set a great example of the kind of way that it should be done in a proper and efficient manner, and I congratulate you on that.”

It seems Owens snuck one by the governor’s team at the event. Owens’ friend and fellow Boyer complainant Joe Newton had staked out the post-event reception with a video camera, said Deal spokeswoman Jennifer Talaber. “This is not an endorsement and this was not about Elaine Boyer.” As Owens approached, Newton told the governor that the guy started a P-Card abuse investigation and asked him to comment on it, she said. “There was no mention of him replacing her or endorsing his candidacy at all.”


Jason Carter is offering a more comprehensive take on his proposal to give Georgia's powerful teacher pension more leeway to invest in Georgia's start-ups. Republican trackers caught his speech yesterday in Macon before the Georgia State Retirees Association:

Said Carter:

"But let me tell you, let me tell you, I will never, as I said before, act without your input to do anything with that pension fund. And I would never want to do anything to make it less safe, less reliable, and to weaken it in any way. You can rest assured that when I'm the governor I won't be playing politics with the retirement fund."

Gov. Nathan Deal, who has said teacher pushback led him to oppose the changes, is using Carter's stance to try to appeal to more educators. We haven't yet seen the Democratic report on the governor's speech to the retirement group. The Republican incumbent made his appearance just before Carter.


Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed's on-again, off-again relationship with Democrat Jason Carter appears to be on again. We think.

The mayor shared the stage with his pal, Gov. Nathan Deal, at yesterday's signing of the Savannah port agreement, and both showered each other with praise.  But the Democrat also recently hosted a fundraiser for Carter, and campaign finance reports out yesterday showed he gave Carter $6,300.

We asked hizzoner if his relationship with the gubernatorial candidate improved.

Insider: "Is that an endorsement?"

Reed: "I think my support is clear. I've contributed the maximum amount. I'm being supportive of the nominee of my party. And I just think that the relationship is getting better and better."


The New York Times took a look at Republican David Perdue's Pillowtex deposition to concentrate not on his outsourcing comments but his griping about compensation. From Jonathan Weisman:

"I just didn't feel like the board and Oaktree were sensitive to the vulnerability that I was in," the multimillionaire executive told lawyers in 2005, referring to Pillowtex, a North Carolina-based textile maker, and Oaktree Capital Management, the company's largest financial backer.

"From my perspective, this thing had totally blown up in my face. The equity that I walked away from, the stock at Reebok continued to go up. This thing was not what it had been represented to me to be," he complained.

As his company was heading toward bankruptcy, Mr. Perdue pressed the board for a $700,000 payout to cover taxes he owed on a signing bonus and $100,000 for a relocation he never actually took. He received both, as well as a $500,000 stipend to stay on during final, failed takeover negotiations that could have rescued Pillowtex. He announced his resignation that spring, effective after a two-week paid vacation.


Dious flier 1

Monroe minister and radio host Jody Hice's

controversial comments about women, gays, guns and the Civil War -- among other things -- have

Exploredrawn national attention

and have the state's Republicans more than a little concerned about what he might say in the U.S. House.

Athens Democrat Ken Dious does not have the money to blast the comments on TV for the 10th Congressional District to see, so our AJC colleague Jeremy Redmon reports that Dious is simply handing out this flier as he makes the rounds.

Dious, a longtime civil rights attorney, said he considers it his responsibility to run against what he described as extremism.

“I always have opposed that all my life, so this is not anything new for me at all,” Dious told Redmon in a recent interview in his Athens law office. “If I don’t, those extreme views are allowed to grow.”

Hice, the heavy favorite to win on Nov. 4, brushed off Dious’ flier. Here's what he wrote in an email to Redmon:

"I have seen tactics like this before -- it happens when a candidate is unable to run on a message of their own because they are out of touch with the needs and concerns of the people of the district. My message is resonating with the people of the 10th District. It's a clear one that consists of Constitutionally-limited government, repealing and replacing Obamacare, and encouraging economic growth and bringing jobs to Georgia."


We are searching our wardrobe frantically for anything that can be described as "poolside chic." We got nothing -- except for Galloway, who has a new pair of white tube socks to go with his Crocs.

But for the rest of y'all, here's a swank upcoming fundraiser invite for Georgia Democrats' coordinated campaign in College Park.


Question: If the threat is an F/A-18 Hornet, how big would that gun have to be? From the Calhoun Times:

Dan Haithcock, a Cumming resident, and GeorgiaCarry.org failed in their efforts to allow weapons at the Oct. 18-19 air show at Richard B. Russell Regional Airport. However, their complaint is still moving through the court system, and could affect who can bring firearms to future, similar events.


Somebody is running for Senate majority leader. From the Facebook page of state Sen. Judson Hill, R-Marietta:

The picture included this note from Hill:

"I was privileged to host a number of Georgia's state Senator-elects in Washington DC today for a series of meetings on how to be an effective legislator. We had a number of great meetings among them Newt Gingrich and Grover Norquist."


Meanwhile, within that same chamber, the exiting state Sen. Don Balfour, R-Snellville, who was acquitted last year of misusing his legislative expense account, has penned a farewell to consituents. Naturally, it includes the famous Theodore Roosevelt middle-finger to naysayers:

'It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings….