Olens answers Democrat allegations
by Jon Gillooly
jgillooly@mdjonline.com
July 15, 2010 12:00 AM | 3725 views | 11 11 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA - State Sen. Preston Smith (R-Rome) is demanding that his opponent in the Republican primary, Sam Olens, "come clean" about being a former Democrat.

During a debate at the Atlanta Press Club over the weekend, Smith asked Olens about supporting presidential candidate Bill Clinton in 1992.

Smith referenced a Feb. 25, 1992, article in the MDJ by Joe Kirby titled "Clinton garners support from county Democrats."

The article reports how then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton was endorsed that week in his presidential bid by most high-ranking Cobb Democrats. The article lists members of the Cobb Chapter of the Clinton for President Committee, describing Olens as a member, as well as the treasurer of the Cobb Democratic Party.

Yet Olens told the Journal he was not on any committee to help elect Clinton, nor did he contribute to his campaign.

"As a young attorney, I considered myself an independent and sometimes voted Democrat. As I matured, I realized the Republican Party much better represented my values and beliefs," Olens said.

Olens said his Republican credentials are clear, having been an elected Republican for 12 years with a proven conservative record, endorsed by more than 150 elected Republicans statewide.

"We need to keep in mind that even Ronald Reagan was once a Democrat," Olens said. "Our first Republican governor of Georgia was once a Democrat. And two of the leading Republican candidates for governor were once Democrats. I am proud of my record as an elected official and the voters would be better served if we would remain focused on the issues facing Georgia."

Republican candidate for governor Nathan Deal was first elected to the U.S. House in 1992 as a Democrat then changed to the GOP Party in 1995. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Roy Barnes, of Marietta, headed the campus Republicans at the University of Georgia during the late 1960s. Republican U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson was head of the campus Democrats there during the same period.

Other notables who switched parties include Cobb Commissioner Woody Thompson, who served two terms as a Republican until he was defeated in 2004 by Annette Kesting. He switched to Democrat and defeated Kesting in 2008. Longtime Republican Congressman Bob Barr, of Smyrna, switched to the Libertarian Party and ran for president after losing a re-election battle following redistricting. Also, former Cobb Sheriff Bill Hutson was first a Democrat.

Attorney Chuck Clay, the former chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, said he switched to the Republican Party in 1979.

"As you can imagine, there were many switchers to the Republican Party here as it really began to take off starting around 1976, when Tom Charron beat Buddy Darden for Cobb DA. Some is ideological and some is pragmatic," Clay said.
Comments
(11)
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nana101
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August 08, 2010
Why isn't Max Wood on the run-off ballot in Lanier Co.???
CobbCoCo
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July 15, 2010
So, Mike Murphy switched to the Democrats the week of the filing deadline.
J Cooper
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July 15, 2010
POINT - When asked a simple question of documented truth - Sam Olens chose to lie. People do change parties, but telling the truth is the point. Olens owes Preston Smith an apology for saying,"he made up the comments and they simply were not true," when the facts are documented.This is not mud slinging, but true facts.My vote is with Smith.
VOTE VOTE JULY20th
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July 15, 2010
those of you with such strong voices don't for get to vote JULY20th
meleniet
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July 15, 2010
I am sick of both these guys Olens and Smith....the AGs office is a serious business and we DO NOT need these players in office...having checked the only alternative, Max Wood, he is a military veteran and volunteered to go to Iraq...maybe he's it through process of elimination...

who cares
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July 15, 2010
Isn't Sam Olens like many in the US? We grow up and wake up and finally realize that the Republicans are right!
anonymous
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July 15, 2010
I vote for candidates of both parties based on who I think will do the best job. The problem I have is with politicians who decry "career politicians" but switch parties, change residences, etc. in order to continue getting elected.
Desperation
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July 15, 2010
Mr. Smith is feeling desperate in the final hour and wants to sling mud. Not Working. Does he not remember one of our great Republican Leaders was a democrat. RONALD REAGAN. Sam Olens has proven himself as a great conservative leader for Cobb and will do the same for the entire state of Georgia. Mr. Smith you need to start reading the want adds.
anonymous
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July 15, 2010
This information, combined with the statement he made in Athens a few months ago, "80% of the health care bill is good" give me serious pause about Olens. I felt the answer was revealing in that it assuaged registered democrats who might consider pulling a republican ticket to vote for him in the primary. Heaven knows we do not need any more RINO's. It's bad enough as it is. I want an AG that will fight Obama Care tooth and nail. Anything that takes away 100% of my freedom of choice has no good 80%.
JayCeeKay
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July 15, 2010
Unfortunately we have elected officials that change parties solely for the purpose of getting elected. You have to do your homework to determine the best person possible for the job. Based on Olen's previous performance in his last job, he doesn't get my vote!
Pat H
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July 15, 2010
If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, acts like a duck, well, it depends on what the meaning of is is. Of course he was a Democrat, and still acts like one. Max Wood for attorney general.
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