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UPDATED: Partisan phone call raises questions in nonpartisan race
by LaTria Garnigan
lgarnigan@neighbornewspapers.com
July 27, 2012 06:04 PM | 1883 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jenkins-Clark robocall

On July 23, DeKalb County resident Lou Whiteman received a “robocall” from the campaign of Michelle Jenkins-Clark, candidate for the DeKalb County District 8 school board seat, against incumbent Pamela Speaks.

During the call, Clark is heard saying that she is “ … the only democratic candidate for school board District 8 … I am running to unseat Republican incumbent Pam Speaks.” School board elections are nonpartisan in DeKalb County, meaning candidates do not run on a party platform.

Whiteman, dismayed at the call as he has no ties to either candidate, said he did not know much about Clark or Speaks and was quite annoyed at the phone call. He also wondered if such a call was legal.

According to the DeKalb County Office of Elections and Voter Registration, the office cannot monitor or control the robocalls made by political candidates.

Clark admitted the call came from her campaign.

“Because the majority of the people [in DeKalb] are Democrats, I felt the need to differentiate myself from her and let them know that I represent the values of the majority of the people in the district,” Clark said.

While Clark acknowledged she was unsure if her opponent was a Republican, she said she felt Speaks had a tendency to vote with those on the board who are.

Clark admitted that she has received word that a few residents were not pleased with her fliers and robocalls, but reiterated she wanted to let District 8 residents know she represented their values.

Speaks responded to the robocall and fliers saying she had been in contact with many residents who were incensed that her opponent would send out that information.

"I think what she sent out is divisive, sophomoric and just plain wrong and incorrect," said Speaks. "If people want a board of education member who is incorrect then she would be their candidate. She needs to get her facts straight."

Speaks added she has no allegiance to any political party, saying her allegiance is to children.
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