Commission candidate Hearn: ‘I messed up’

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Four years ago, ex-Commissioner Lee Hearn (L) answers questions at a political forum while his Republican opponent Randy Ognio (R) waits his turn. Photo/Citizen archives.
Four years ago, ex-Commissioner Lee Hearn (L) answers questions at a political forum while his Republican opponent Randy Ognio (R) waits his turn. Photo/Citizen archives.

Hearn listed 2 elected officials as supporters; they said they were not asked and have not endorsed him — 

Political endorsements for a candidate usually come with the candidate getting permission to use that person’s name. That was not the case when Lee Hearn, running for the District 2 seat on the Fayette County Commission, listed two elected officials as supporters without getting their permission, according to those two officials. They subsequently posted their dissatisfaction with Hearn’s action on their Facebook pages.

Hearn on his flyer promoting his candidacy for the District 2 seat noted eight people as supporters of his election effort. Two of those were Fayette County Board of Education member Barry Marchman and state Sen. Marty Harbin.

Barry Marchman, member of the Fayette County board of Education. File photo.
Barry Marchman, member of the Fayette County board of Education. File photo.

Both Marchman and Harbin on their Facebook pages clearly took exception to their names being used as supporters without being asked.

Contacted by The Citizen, Hearn apologized for his action, saying he did not realize listing the two as supporters would be a problem.

Marchman’s post on his Facebook page is noted below:

“As a locally elected official of Fayette County, I normally do not support or endorse candidates in the primary elections, but I am making a few exceptions this year.

“Today, many people received flyers in the mail from a county commission candidate who never asked permission to use my name as a ‘supporter.’ I have known this person for a long time and I normally think very highly of him, but I DID NOT endorse or ‘support’ him for office.

“I feel violated that my name was used like that without my permission.

“So to set the record straight, I have supported Randy Ognio since 2012. I voted for him back when we had county-wide elections and I continue to support Randy and Denise McCraw Ognio.

“I very much appreciate their years of humble service to our community,” Marchman said.

<b>Ga. state Senator Marty Harbin (R-Tyrone). File photo.</b>
Ga. state Senator Marty Harbin (R-Tyrone). File photo.

Harbin’s post on his Facebook page noted:

“As an elected official, like many other elected officials, I have chosen not to support or endorse candidates in primary elections. Therefore, I have not endorsed anyone in the local commissioner’s race, believing that the candidates would each present their views, experience and qualifications for the voters to decide for themselves. I am deeply disappointed that my name has been used in a flyer without my knowledge or permission.

“I spoke to Lee Hearn this morning and told him that I did not appreciate him doing this and requested that he take responsibility for his actions by publicly retracting my name and the names of any other people who had not given him permission. I know that Dr. Barry Marchman has already responded to his name being used with a message on his Facebook account.

“When Commissioner Randy Ognio asked me months ago for my support, I told him that I was not going to be making an endorsement. He understood and respected my position. I appreciate that. Randy has worked hard and I thank him for his dedicated service to our community,” Harbin said.

Given the remarks from Harbin and Marchman, The Citizen contacted Hearn, asking why he listed the two as supporters without their permission.

“I’m not politically savvy. I didn’t realize it would be a problem,” said Hearn, explaining that he goes to church with both men, is friends with both and has been friends with Harbin for years. “It’s all on me. I messed up. I apologize. I should have checked it better than I did.”

This race is not Hearn’s first foray into politics. Ognio has beaten him twice in the past eight years. Hearn ran for and won a seat on the Fayette Commission in 2008, then lost it as an incumbent in the 2012 primary election to political newcomer Randy Ognio. Hearn next ran against the incumbent Ognio in 2016 and again lost.

7 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve dealt with Lee Hearn while he’s been in several of his roles in government. I’ve always felt like I was never getting the truth, like I was dealing with a very slippery individual. I know many of his former employees didn’t care for working with him either, for a multitude of reasons. And what does it say about a person who floats around from one government position to the next, never staying anywhere for very long? To me that says that individual is unqualified and has WAY more interest in the job title than his interest in actually performing the job. No thank you Lee. I think you’re more interested in status and what the position can do for you, than what you can do for the county. You’re a leftover of the old network and it’s time for fresh blood. But maybe we can have a special election where you and Mr. Haddix run against each other for some government office…..

    • Yea winger, I have heard some of that as well. I have also wondered why it is appropriate or even legal for a county government employee to run for an elected position in another nearby county. Probably that wondering would lead to a murky lawsuit and an unclear conclusion.

      Nevertheless, in my mind it is not appropriate so I will avoid that conflict by not voting for the dude. How’s that?

      The Haddix idea is funny – practical too. Let’s allow a special election for incumbent losers trying to make a comeback – throw Brown and Logsdon in there too – and only the winner is allowed to run again in a real election. Sort of like being released from rehab. I like it. I’d like it even more if the idea caught on at a higher level so people like John Oxindine, Jon Osoff and Stacy Abrams would be on hold until released by the voters.

      • Kind of like being sent down to the Minors and having to earn your way back to the Big League. I like it.

        Speaking of Brown……the best and maybe only bright spot of losing the print version of The Citizen is that I don’t have to read his and Haddix’s lengthy self-promoting diatribes that they felt obliged to submit on a regular basis.

  2. Hearn is the one who when he sat on the board last time tried and did take people’s homes for a road to no where. He certainly does not have my support and when I finish telling everyone I know there will be a lot more no votes. He lost his office last time because of those actions. I guess he doesn’t learn.

  3. I would not vote for Hearn because of this and past actions, but I have doubts about Oganio also for raising taxes in the past, claiming balance budgets when we did not, and rezoning 288 acres of land for development. Is he a secret Democrat? Not sure.

  4. Good quote Lee —“I’m not politically savvy. I didn’t realize it would be a problem,” said Hearn

    What is even more of a problem is the fact that Randy is an extraordinary commissioner, he beat you twice before and what else – oh yea you are not “political savvy”

    Three strikes and you’re out. Time to move. on to something else.