Georgia Race Latest to See Old Divorce Records Surface

Posted October 2, 2010 at 10:38am

Updated Oct. 2, 1:29 p.m.

A Democratic activist filed a motion Thursday to unseal the six-year old divorce records of state Rep. Austin Scott (R), who is running against Rep. Jim Marshall (D) in Georgia’s 8th district, according to a report from the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

A lawyer for Amy Morton, a Democratic Party activist and blogger who resides in Macon, argued that the public had a right to review the legal records of Scott, who has been in the state Legislature for 14 years and dropped a gubernatorial bid earlier this year to challenge Marshall.

A state Superior Court Judge has scheduled a hearing on the motion for the week before Election Day.

On Saturday, Scott’s camp linked the motion to Marshall and called it a desperate campaign tactic by the Congressman.

“With so many Georgians hurt by the recession and struggling to get through, it’s sad that Jim Marshall is so desperate to keep the job that he’s failed to do that he would stoop so low,” Scott spokesman Sam Ray said.

The Marshall campaign declined to comment except to indicate it was not involved in the filing in any way.

The Georgia Congressional race is just the latest in which divorce records are being dredged up against GOP candidates.

This week, national Democrats were quick to take shots at heart surgeon Dan Benishek, the Republican running in Michigan’s 1st district, after reports surfaced that he underestimated his income during legal arguments with his ex-wife over child support payments. Two weeks ago, Democrats hit Tennessee Republican Scott DesJarlais after documents from his divorce proceedings surfaced, which showed that his ex-wife had accused him of abuse and harassment before they separated.

One national Republican strategist said Saturday that the recent spate of divorce stories is part of an effort by Democrats to distract voters from important national issues by tearing down GOP candidates in any way they can.

“We know that our path to victory runs through national issues and their path to victory runs through personally disqualifying our candidates,” the strategist said.