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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Candidate questions integrity of opponent

A state House candidate's past professional life is being questioned in the District 104 race.

In a press release from her rival in Tuesday's primary, former Central Gwinnett High School principal Valerie Clark is accused of covering up her son's misdeeds before her retirement.

"Dr. Clark may have only done what any mother would have in similar circumstances," said Timothy Swiney, who is also seeking the GOP nomination for the Lawrenceville-centered district. "The problem is Valerie wasn't just another mother, she was a trusted public employee. Clearly she violated that trust. For a candidate who campaigned on 'uncompromising integrity,' this shows a real disconnect between campaign rhetoric and reality."

While Swiney said Clark's son was not subjected to a school disciplinary panel after an incident on campus, Clark said she initially thought the incident occurred off campus.

She said her son did face suspension when she learned it was school-related.

"I'm just surprised that something like this that was from two years ago would come up in a campaign," Clark said. "It's a family issue, and I hate for it to be brought up again."

Swiney said the allegations may have kept Clark from an endorsement by the Georgia Association of Educators, but Clark said she was not a member of that organization in her professional life, and she described it as a "Democrat group" that supports incumbent Lee Thompson.

Final tidbits from District 2

Commission candidate Lynette Howard has one of Gwinnett's top prosecutors in her corner.

Howard received the endorsement of Solicitor-General Rosanna Szabo.

"I have known Lynette for over five years, first through her activities with the (United Peachtree Corners Civic Association) and more recently, as a planning commissioner.

She has proven to have an honest and heartfelt concern for the welfare of our community," Szabo said. "As a planning commissioner, she has been instrumental in our efforts to clean up the re-zoning process to require full disclosure of campaign contributions. As a commissioner, I have no doubt that she will conduct the business of the county with the highest regard for open, transparent, and ethical representation and be a commissioner of which we can all be proud."

On Republican ballots next week, Howard will face off against Keith Shewbert and Jose Perez.

This week, Perez announced a $500 contribution to the Arizona Border Security and Illegal Immigration Defense Fund to show his support for the state's efforts to secure its border.

"The federal government has failed to do their job and secure our borders. That is a shame," Perez said. "This is exactly what other states should be doing, and I encourage our legislature to consider it. This country is based on the rule of law and our very survival, as a nation, depends on enforcing and protecting the law. If the feds won't, we will. I decided instead of just talking about supporting Arizona's effort, I would put my money where my mouth is."

Perez, a Cuba native, said he would expand and strengthen the 287(g) program that empowers deputies to begin deportation proceedings on illegal immigrants at the county jail, as well as implement a program to verify citizenship before employers are granted a business license.

A couple of House endorsements

Ga. House District 106 candidate Warren Auld released a long list of supporters this week, many from Snellville's past and present political leadership.

The endorsement list includes: Solicitor Rosanna Szabo; Snellville City Councilmembers Mike Sabbagh and Kelly Kautz; Evermore Community Improvement District Chairman Dwight Harrison; Evermore CID board member Kenny King; Snellville's former Chief Judge H. Steve Ruff; former Snellville Mayor Emmett Clower; former Snellville City Councilmen Wayne Odom and Troy Carter, and area businessman Garry Rhodes.

"Warren Auld listens to people's concerns, considers them, and then puts his excellent legal skills to work for them," Szabo said. "I've seen him in the courtroom and on City Council and I know he'll make an excellent state representative."

Auld is a former member of the Snellville City Council. In next week's Republican primary, he faces former Mayor Brett Harrell.

Sheriff Butch Conway is endorsing the Democratic challenger in the District 96 race.

"Brian will work with us for cleaner and safer neighborhoods," Conway said of Brian Mock, who will face off against Pedro Marin in Tuesday's primary.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.