Political activist Joe Newton says he is not endorsing anyone in the Gwinnett County District 3 commission race.
“I don’t tell you who to vote for. All I tell you is who not to vote for,” he said.
Newton, who made headlines in 2008 during a widely publicized dispute with Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway regarding the commission chairman race between Charles Bannister and Lorraine Green, has focused his attention this year on Gwinnett County District 3 incumbent Mike Beaudreau.
Newton has created a website and initiated a mass postcard mailing outlining his concerns about Beaudreau’s activities while in office.
“If there is anything [on the website] that is inaccurate or untruthful, show me the documentation that it is and I’ll take it down and apologize for it,” he said.
Newton said he began investigating Beaudreau several years ago while looking into several Gwinnett County land deals. According to Newton, he has paid thousands of dollars of his own money to gauge whether or not certain controversial land purchases were justified.
“I do this on my own and I pay for it myself,” he said. “I don’t sneak around doing it.”
That initial investigative effort led Newton to explore other ethics concerns -- issues he has outlined on his website.
“I am totally, absolutely disgusted with it,” he said. “I don’t even want to live in the county with these people.”
Though Newton is firmly convinced Mike Beaudreau should not be re-elected, he said he is not affiliated with or supporting any of the other candidates in the race.
“I don’t care who is elected as long as it is not Beaudreau,” he said. “I don’t care one iota.”
Newton also said he had nothing to do with a recent .”
While acknowledging that Beaudreau has a large support base, Newton maintains that would not be the case if people knew more about the candidate.
“His fans don’t know him. They’ve never looked into who he is,” Newton said.
Newton explained he has invested his own time and money to shed light on what he calls serious ethical concerns.
“I just lay it out there and you make up your mind,” he said.
Beaudreau declined to comment specifically on Newton's activities, saying only, “I’m not going to dignify his actions with a response.”
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