Judge rejects DeKalb GOP’s nominee for elections board

Paul Maner is officially out of the running for the DeKalb Elections Board.

The Republican was rejected Wednesday by DeKalb Chief Superior Court Judge Asha Jackson, who approves appointments to the county’s five-member elections board. Jackson asked the county Republican Party executive committee to submit another name, said DeKalb County Clerk of the Superior Court Debra DeBerry.

“The decision to reject his name as a nominee was based on an extraordinary number of phone calls and emails to Judge Jackson about Mr. Maner ‘s candidacy as a nominee and a determination after review of the same, that another more suitable candidate would need to be considered for the Board of Elections,” DeBerry said.

DeKalb Democrats spokesman John Jackson supports the choice.

“I think they made the right decision. He’s known to be hateful, he has been racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and xenophobic,” Jackson said.

DeKalb GOP Chair Marci McCarthy said that Maner was chosen after an extensive resume review and interview process. She said the DeKalb GOP is communicating with Judge Jackson to take the next steps.

“To ensure a fair and transparent process of these appointments as they impact our elections, the DeKalb GOP is awaiting further clarification from Judge Jackson regarding her criteria for all (elections board) appointments inclusive of the at-large (chairman) position,” she said.

Maner had been a controversial pick since he had been nominated earlier in June.

A financial advisor from north DeKalb, Maner is an arch-conservative who unsuccessfully challenged then-state Sen. Fran Millar in a 2016 GOP primary. Never shy to attack establishment Republicans as “RINOs” — or “Republicans In Name Only” — he found himself in an unflattering spotlight last January after falsely claiming on social media that the son of Democratic U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath was killed in a “drug deal gone bad.”

McBath’s teenage son, Jordan, was shot and killed outside a Florida gas station in 2012, after a stranger confronted him and a group of friends over the volume of their music.

The terms of all members of the five-member board expire at the end of June. One of the two Republican members, Anthony Lewis, appears set to serve another term. Democrats plan to keep their two representatives — Dele Lowman-Smith and Susan Motter — in place.

According to Jackson’s office, 19 applications were received for the lone seat on the elections board that’s not filled by a political party.

DeKalb County is one of Georgia’s deepest Democratic strongholds. About 83% of DeKalb voters chose Joe Biden last November, and roughly the same percentage went for Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in January’s U.S. Senate runoffs.

The board oversees elections within the county and assists with voter registration and absentee voting.

All five appointments to the board will be made on or before June 30, 2021.