Keaton wins Clerk’s race
by Kim Isaza
newseditor@mdjonline.com
August 22, 2012 01:42 AM | 6102 views | 38 38 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rebecca Keaton, center, shares the good news with Angie Cunningham, left, and Peggy Young as she pulls away from John Skelton to win the office of Cobb Superior Court Clerk.<br>Staff/Todd Hull
Rebecca Keaton, center, shares the good news with Angie Cunningham, left, and Peggy Young as she pulls away from John Skelton to win the office of Cobb Superior Court Clerk.
Staff/Todd Hull
slideshow
MARIETTA — Two female lawyers coasted to clear victories on Tuesday, Rebecca Keaton in the GOP primary runoff for Superior Court Clerk, and Marsha Lake for a seat on the Cobb State Court bench.

In the race for Superior Court clerk, Keaton won 16,347 votes (62%) over John H. Skelton’s 10,007 votes (38%). Although this was the Republican primary runoff, no Democrats qualified to be on the November ballot.

Keaton and Kimberly Carroll, her deputy clerk, were with friends and supporters at Johnnie McCracken’s pub near the Marietta Square Tuesday night.

“All these people who’ve helped me, I couldn’t do it without them,” Keaton said. Her first order of business, she said, will be an audit of the clerk’s office to see where the money is going.

“The computer system now is not unified, and I understand there is money to improve it and get on board with other county agencies,” Keaton said.

Skelton, whose supporters gathered at the home of William and Marla Blackstone in west Cobb, expressed deep displeasure at what he perceived as Keaton’s negative campaign tactics.

“I ran a positive campaign I’m proud of. I can look my family in the eye tomorrow and say ‘I didn’t say bad things about people solely to get elected.’ Ms. Keaton did. But it is what it is,” he said. “I’ve learned some things, and I feel like I’m a better person for it. … I congratulate her for her win. Politics is for adults, and we’re all adults here. … I’m disappointed the discourse sank to such a depth. I just wasn’t willing to put on my scuba gear and go that low.”

Skelton, who was asked to run by the current clerk, Jay C. Stephenson, raised about $5,000, according to his June 30 disclosure. Stephenson’s deputy clerk, Elva Dornbusch, would have remained as deputy if Skelton were elected.

Keaton, though, denied that she ran a negative campaign against Skelton. She raised about $9,000 and loaned her campaign $52,000, according to the June 30 disclosure reports, and she was endorsed by such well-known Cobb Republicans as Attorney General Sam Olens and Sheriff Neil Warren.

“It’s a partisan race,” Keaton said. “We’re in a two-party system. He’s a Democrat and ran as a Republican. I simply exposed that. I called him out on it. I’m a strong Republican. He accused me of lying, but I haven’t lied. He’s a very nice guy. My only issues are partisan, and I think he’s disappointed he didn’t win.

“If anyone has been nasty, it’s him. He’s accused me of being a career politician, just because I ran once before and lost,” Keaton said. She was also the top vote-getter in the July 31 three-way race that included Joan Davis. In that vote, Keaton took 48 percent, while Skelton won 39 percent of the vote.

Sheriff Warren was among the revelers joining Keaton at McCracken’s on Tuesday night.

“I’ve known Rebecca for a number of years. I’ve watched her try cases. She’s hard working, and a hard conservative,” Warren said. “She’s very qualified. She understands the concept of a Constitutional officer, and I just know she’ll do an outstanding job.”

In the nonpartisan runoff for a seat on the Cobb State Court bench, Marsha Lake won 19,206 votes (61%) over Larry Burke’s 12,327 votes (39%).

Lake also led in the four-person primary on July 31, with 39%.

“We’ve worked very, very hard, and I think our prayers have been answered. We could not be happier,” Lake said from her home in Kennesaw, where supporters came and went throughout the night.

She said that since March, her campaign has knocked on more than 15,000 doors. Her June 30 financial report showed donations of $9,000 and a personal loan to her campaign of $20,000.

“We took a very different approach. I wanted to go out and introduce myself to the community and what I stood for, and I believe that has paid off,” Lake said.

Burke offered his congratulations to Lake late Tuesday.

“We ran a good, honest campaign but just came up a little short,” Burke said. “I offer her my congratulations, and I’ll certainly be supportive of her and all the other judges here in Cobb.”

Burke’s June 30 report showed donations of nearly $10,000.
Comments
(38)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
James Greek
|
August 23, 2012
I think Keaton sucks as an attorney. I think my mom had her for an attorney and I never got to ask my mom before she ded but I think she screwed my mom over.

Ron Kind
|
August 22, 2012
Something doesn't add up with Keaton here. If she is so bent on letting everyone know that she is a strong republican then why did she get a strong democrat as her running mate? That don't make no sense.
Cobb Lost
|
August 22, 2012
We all lost because Cobb County lost.
Cobb Lawyer
|
August 22, 2012
I too have mixed emotions about this race. I have had good relations with Jay and the employees of the Clerks office for many years. I would have preferred less change in the clerk's office. I am concerned that two apparently disgruntled former employess have been so active in the campaign and there are rumors to the effect that they are coming back to take over and settle some old scores. I hope this is not the case.

Rebecca you ran a great campaign and Skelton not so much so. The County was plastered with Keaton signs. You lined up a very impressive list of endorsements. My advice now it to move slow and watch what you say very carefully.

The Clerks office is not broken. There is experienced staff there who make things work. The computers may be somewhat outdated but at one time we were cutting edge for Georgia if not the entire nation. Stop the rhetoric. It is time to get in and do the job and making a bunch of changes on day one is not the way to do it.

Take some time and feel your way around. Temper your comments. For instance, instead of saying "I want an audit first thing to find out where the money is." You could have said, "My number one priority as Clerk is to modernize the computer systems. I will endeavor to wrap my hands around the budget as I believe some funds available to the Department are not being utilzed in the best manner possible. I committ myself to an open and honest assessment of the department's budget and personnel and look forward to looking for ways to improve the department and to utilize the talent and experience we have in place."

Sounds a litter better than "I want an audit". You have a wonderful opportunity Rebecca. Take a couple of deep breaths and take your time.
Great campaign???
|
August 23, 2012
Cobb Lawyer, nice comments, but one error: You said "Rebecca you ran a great campaign and Skelton not so much so.

If the criterion for such a judgment is the end result, then,yes, you are right. However, if the end does not justify the means, then you are dead wrong. If Skelton did not run a great campaign based on the fact that he lost, then, yes, you're right. This is the only way I know to render your judgment accurate.

Now, prove to me that the end justifies the means. That winning at any cost is all that matters. That libelling your opponent is the way to go, and if you don't go that way, you didn't run a great campaign.

There are a number of things about Keaton that Skelton could have brought to public light that would have worked in his favor. But he chose to take the high road. And you fault him for that? It would have more accurate if you had said, "Rebecca, you ran an effective campaign; Skelton not so much."
Not Nice
|
August 22, 2012
After reading all these negative comments, I decided to go to Mr. Skelton Fb page and these same types of comments are posted by him and his brother Steve Skelton. John Skelton “Un-freaking-believable. Ms. Keaton has a lot of nerve.” (Not nice)

You quoted to the MDJ “I ran a positive campaign I’m proud of. I can look my family in the eye tomorrow and say ‘I didn’t say bad things about people solely to get elected.

Mr. Skelton, I’m sorry you lost but give it a rest. (Ask God to help you) If you really care about the county as you say you do, then why don’t you extend an open hand to Ms. Keaton for support and you and your brother Steve can find peace.

movin' on out
|
August 22, 2012
Not Nice. CMAR. Cry Me A River. Build a bridge and get over it. Instead of sitting behind your "research" on Facebook, (what a learned individual) why don't you get out and get involved in the community. John was personally attacked by Becky, through the media and on social media. He fought the good fight. Why don't you sit behind that computer of yours, research ALL of the information, meet the two candidates and then judge. John extended himself for the betterment of the community. He heeded the calling. He stood like a rock and let comments be made about his family, friends and of course himself. It's easy to let facebook do the talking the DAY AFTER the election. Do me a favor. On November 6th, don't vote. God Bless You John and Elva. You both ran a race to be admired. In spite of Monday morning Morons jumping in after the race.
Pots calling kettles
|
August 22, 2012
John didn't lie -- Keaton does have a lot of nerve. Let's hope she's got the ability to do the job.
Steve Skelton
|
August 22, 2012
Well, since you saw fit to spy on other people's Facebook pages and call folks out by name, I will answer your attack personally. I am John's brother, and I am proud of his efforts to run for the Clerk's position. I can not tell you how hard it has been to sit back and watch Keaton attack his character and lie about him. If it was your family, you would feel the exact same way John is a good Christian man, and he would have been a great Clerk. I also worked at the Clerk's Office for several years, and I know there are a bunch of good people up there who have worked for the county for MANY years who now stand to lose their jobs to Keaton's cronies. That's SAD. I have every right to defend my brother against lies and personal attacks. Rebecca Keaton's lack of ethics and character disgusts me and I have no confidence in her ability to be our Clerk. The way she ran her campaign was shameful and she should have been called out on it LONG AGO. This whole thing could have been avoided had Ms. Keaton shown one ounce of dignity after winning the election. I pray that she won't totally destroy the Clerk's Office. If you care to keep personally attacking me or my family, feel free to send me a PERSONAL Facebook message. I won't be commenting on any more MDJ boards ever again.

friend of Skelton
|
August 22, 2012
John is the most honest man I know. He did run a good campaign. Are you aware that Rebecca Keaton bought the rights to websites with John's name? When a person typed in John Skelton. org or anything like that the page when to Rebecca's page. Are you telling me that is honest? John is a wonderful man and I am proud to call him a friend.
movin' on out
|
August 22, 2012
I understand there are a lot of mixed emotions on this election. It makes perfect sense. We have one side that wants to carry on the work of the current administration. The administration that helped to build one of the most state of the art facilities and that has been working for the people for years, John had been tapped by the administration to carry on the important work...

and then we have the one the people voted in. a career politician... who funded her own campaign to the tune of over half the annual salary of the position. One who says she ran once and lost, but we know it's more times than that. One that has dreams of having Government employees utilizing social media and texting as part of their jobs. One that believes that she needs to 'follow the money'. One that bought herself an election.

Cobb County. You have voted. You obviously didn't research the candidates. The position. The responsibilities of the position. You made a choice. Please do me a favor those who voted this career politician into this position. Stay home home November 6th. We do not need you to vote emotion. We need voters who vote fact.

Becks. Becca. Becky. You touched the emotions of some constituents. You're not conservative. You don't walk the walk and you surely do not talk the talk. Another Darn RINO.
Set Aside
|
August 22, 2012
Cobb Co. should set aside the money now for the investigation into Keaton's mishandling of the Clerk's Office now. She couldn't Administer a 2 car parade.
Grow up
|
August 22, 2012
OMG you people are acting like 12 year olds, Cobb County voter’s spoke, get over it…. you lost.
Speak English?
|
August 22, 2012
Which voter was it that spoke, Grow up? Are you a native English speaker? Then you are probably not a client of Ms. Keaton's. Call her office number and you get a Spanish/English message. No doubt her practice suffered as a result of her friend Neil Warren's crackdown on illegals. Ironic that he'd back her into a new job after tearing up her last one.
Paul R. Nelson
|
August 22, 2012
Rebecca, you called yourself a strong Republican in the article. Then explain your deputy clerk choice of Carroll who is a democrat? So, if this was a partisan race as you noted why did you cross party lines for your clerk choice?

Also, I don't know how you can deny that you ran a negative campaign during the election. Just look in the MDJ archives about the setting up of bogus websites of your opponent's name. That wasn't shady now, was it?
Mynameisnotbob
|
August 22, 2012
Will Becky Keaton ever stop lying???

Calling John Skelton a democrat is like calling the pope Protestant. Ridiculous! Keaton is still posturing.

Cobb just elected an Obama democrat, Kimberly Carroll, as the Chief Deputy. What's the proof? Kim said so on her Facebook page. So there you go, Cobb voters who thought you were voting against a democrat, you just elected an Obama supporter.
geezzz
|
August 22, 2012
@ Mynameisnotbob so can you stop hiding behind the computer and tell us who you really are??? since you feel the need to attack women...
At Least...
|
August 22, 2012
She's better looking than Jay or Elva!
movin' on out
|
August 22, 2012
And what do looks have to with competence? What a moron.
Beauty Contest
|
August 23, 2012
Well, at least you can gaze longingly at her photo while waiting forever to be serviced by an employee who is too busy twitting to pay attention to you thanks o Beck's new social network policy.
Watcher...
|
August 22, 2012
Why would Ms. Keaton invest $ 52,000 into the Clerk's race?
vtgrad
|
September 01, 2012
Same reason David Banks would lend himself $20,000 for a school board job. At least Keaton didn't steal her opponents signs.
Not So Fast
|
September 04, 2012
Several of Skelton's signs were removed from private property where he had permission to put them (you do the figuring there....no brainer!). Also, several of Keaton's signs were placed right in front of or on TOP of Skelton's. Guess she and Banks went to the same school of sleazy campaigning. Cobb County made the wrong choice!
Just Wait
|
August 22, 2012
I'm still not clear on why this race was such a big deal. In the big picture, this position is not that important. The only good outcome is that "Evil Thornbush" will no longer be with Cobb County (I hope!)
Keep Waiting
|
August 22, 2012
You'll see how important this position is when it falls apart under Keaton's mismanagement. Good luck on a refinance or other transfer of real property if the real property records are as poorly kept as Keaton's campaign finances have been historically.
Whatever plzzzzzzzzz
|
August 22, 2012
Skelton: “I ran a positive campaign I’m proud of. I can look my family in the eye tomorrow and say ‘I didn’t say bad things about people solely to get elected.’ Ms. Keaton did. But it is what it is,” he said. “I’ve learned some things, and I feel like I’m a better person for it. … I congratulate her for her win. Politics is for adults, and we’re all adults here. … I’m disappointed the discourse sank to such a depth. I just wasn’t willing to put on my scuba gear and go that low.”

I guess, going around the clerk's office (during office hours) against county rules with Elva Dornbusch telling employees they are going to lose their jobs if they dont vote for him is as low and dirty as one can get. The voters have spoke start acting like an adult and stop whining.
Mynameisnotbob
|
August 22, 2012
This never happened. It is a lie, which is Becky Keaton's native language. So we should expect it from her and her cohorts, such as Peggy Young, who was fired from the Clerk's office for trying to influence a judge's decision about her son's case, as well as texting in the courtroom. Such slease. Keaton hiring her back will be a sign that bad things are on the horizon for Cobb.
Disgusting!!
|
August 22, 2012
We'll see who's left after the reign of terror begins in January. I feel for those folks. Several have been working there for many years and have done a fantastic job. Now they'll be replaced by Keaton cronies. To accuse Skelton of going around the office doing that is as LOW as you Keaton jerks can go. The folks who voted for Skelton willingly backed him and were not told who to vote for. Get your facts straight before you come on her spewing hate. The MDJ disappointed me with their lack of factual coverage of Keaton's less than stellar political "career". Tell both sides folks, it's your duty and responsibility.
Nope not true!
|
August 22, 2012
Hey Whatever - that never happened. Nice try.
Gracious Winner - NO
|
August 22, 2012
So much for a gracious win Keaton. Still slinging mud???!!! Buying an election and lying about your opponent might get you in the office. But eventually you'll need to be honest, have integrity and answer for yourself. Good luck Cobb County!
Mary Miller
|
August 22, 2012
You can say that again..YOU get what YOU VOTED FOR..GOOD LUCK!
What is a lie?
|
August 22, 2012
"Ran once before" - no it was two full-blown elections you lost before, Ms. Keaton. Further, it was your campaign that bought up domain names and redirected them to your site. It was your campaign that sent out three attack mailers to discredit your opponent for crossover voting and for accepting contributions from well-known Democrats just like your campaign did. Get down off your high horse and prepare to work harder than you ever have, because you just won a job, sister. I hope you are up for it.
Not a chance
|
August 22, 2012
She isn't up for it, and she will embarrass our county. You can take that to the bank. Nice choice Cobb voters! Party politics have NOTHING to do with that office!
More Lies
|
August 22, 2012
Even after she won, Rebecca Keaton continues to lie about Skelton and can't even remember the three other times she ran for office. Being a "good Republican" won't make a good Clerk. I feel for the GREAT folks who work in the Clerk's Office who will likely lose their jobs to some Keaton cronies who won't know the office when she takes over. It is a SAD day for Cobb County when a person with so little character can win an election. You 62% who voted for her made the bed, now we'll all get to lie in it. She won't last four years. Total lack of class, Becky! I have ZERO respect for you and your people!
Cobb Observer
|
August 22, 2012
In an attempt to analyze the results in Tuesday's Runoff Election, I think it's very interesting that the county-wide race with the least amount of media attention, Burke vs. Lake, garnered the largest total votes cast. There's a lesson learned here.
imeanwhatever
|
August 22, 2012
thats awesome. rebecca finally won something. it will be nice to not have to put up with her constant campaigning (and losing). i wish the party put her in a less important position to quiet her up, but this will do. thank goodness.
J.C. Blue
|
August 22, 2012
Karma will eventually bite Becky in the caboose.
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides