Edwards Campaign Backers Want Their Money Back!

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sat, 08/16/2008 - 8:01pm.


John Edwards and videographer Rielle Hunter appear together in New Orleans in a 2006 photo provided by the National Enquirer. Edwards admitted to an affair with Hunter but denied being the father of her infant child.

Some former Georgia supporters of one-time Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards are furious about his confessed affair with aide Rielle Hunter, and at least one wants her campaign donation back.

“That’s money I could have put in my children’s college fund,” state Rep. Stephanie Stuckey Benfield (D-Atlanta) said of her contributions to Edwards.

Once a rising star in party circles, Edwards’ political fortunes have spiraled downward since he admitted on national TV last week that he had an affair with Hunter, who shot video footage for his campaign. The mea culpa came after Edwards initially denied reports of the relationship.

Stuckey said she donated a total of $750 to Edwards and has contacted former Edwards backer Stephen Leeds trying to find out how to get a refund.

Leeds, an Atlanta attorney, has been an Edwards supporter since 2002 and was considered Edwards’ point man in metro Atlanta. Leeds said he now backs presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama and has no idea if there is any money in Edwards’ campaign coffers to return to disgruntled former supporters. He said he has not talked with Edwards since the scandal broke.

“John ended up dishonoring an awful lot of people in this process, from his family to a lot of his supporters,” said Leeds, who gave Edwards $2,300 for his primary run and $2,300 for the general election.

Edwards dropped out of the race before Georgia’s February presidential primary, though his name remained on the ballot. Any general fund campaign contributions will be returned to donors because he is not running in November, Leeds said.

State Rep. Rob Teilhet (D-Smyrna), minority whip in the state House of Representatives, was one of Edwards’ earliest supporters in the state. He called Edwards’ affair a “profound disappointment” and said he has not talked with Edwards since news of it broke.

Teilhet gave the Edwards campaign $2,300 for this year’s primary and $1,000 for the general election. He said the $1,000 has been returned.

Teilhet said he will not ask for his primary election contribution back.

“His campaign, even in light of all this, served a purpose,” Teilhet said. “It forced the other Democratic candidates to talk about things they otherwise would not have talked about. Poverty has not been an issue for a long time. It is now because John Edwards forced the other Democrats to talk about it.”

Benfield said she was shocked by Edwards’ admissions, and especially troubled by revelations that he paid Hunter $114,000 for video Hunter shot for his campaign.

“I could think of better ways to spend that money than on his girlfriend’s videos,” Benfield said of her contribution.

Edwards’ presidential run became a controversy in Georgia’s U.S. Senate campaign even before the Hunter scandal broke in the mainstream media. DeKalb County Chief Executive Officer Vernon Jones blasted Democratic opponent Jim Martin, a donor to Edwards’ campaign, for voting for Edwards in the presidential primary, even though Edwards had dropped out. Martin went on to beat Jones in the Democratic runoff.

Martin’s campaign declined comment when asked if Martin would be asking for a refund.

“We have moved on to other things,” said Martin spokesman Ellery Gould.

Jim Tharpe - August 16, 2008 - source The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Tag this page!
Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sat, 08/16/2008 - 8:01pm.