ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- At the state capitol in downtown Atlanta, there’s a political controversy brewing in a race for the Senate.
State Representative Michael Caldwell is challenging incumbent Brandon Beach for his Senate seat in the 21st District, covering portions of Fulton and Cherokee counties.
“I was surprised when I saw Senator Beach share a quote on quote endorsement online over the last several weeks,” Caldwell said. “At the end of the day, all I want to do is make sure the voters understand who is where and that truth is outed here.”
Caldwell called fake news when he became aware that Senator Beach posted online an endorsement from Governor Brian Kemp saying:
"I applaud Senator Brandon Beach for his willingness to serve in Congress but respect his decision to remain in the State Senate. Quite honestly, we need bold leadership under the Gold Dome to continue our success and keep Georgia the best place to live, work, and raise a family. At the State Capitol, Senator Beech has led efforts to cut red tape and eliminate burdensome regulations on job creators. He has championed crucial infrastructure projects and reforms and worked to protect our conservative, Georgia values. I look forward to partnering with Senator Beach in the years to come to lower healthcare costs, protect our families from gangs, enhance educational outcomes, and put hardworking Georgians first."
“So, I called the Governor to ask to clarify that this is not an endorsement and the Governor committed to me that he was not endorsing either candidate,” Caldwell said.
Caldwell said that the Governor even met with Senator Beach and asked him to remove the endorsement claim. But Beach said Governor Kemp has expressed his support and interest in working with him.
Beach went on to say, “Not sure what the issue is. I don’t care what you call it. ‘Endorsement’ or something else. I just appreciate what the Governor said, and I really look forward to continuing to help the Kemp Administration get things done!”
“We’ve both run a pleasant and cordial primary campaign focused on issues, so I was disappointed to see a false endorsement claim. It certainly felt reminiscent of 2016,” Caldwell said.
Four years ago, Senator Beach was accused of doing the same thing claiming endorsements from leaders in Cherokee County, including Caldwell.
“A statement of support is not the same thing as an outright endorsement. I don’t plan to claim one nor do I think my opponent should when neither of us have one,” Caldwell said.
CBS46 asked Senator Beach if the Governor asked him to remove the endorsement claim. His response was, "You have my statement. My opponent is acting like a scorned teenager whose girlfriend likes someone else."