ATLANTA - In the congressional primary runoff in Georgia’s 10th district, things have gotten ugly between two Republicans.
Tuesday, Vernon Jones filed a complaint with the Morgan County Sheriff's Office over a tweet sent by opponent Mike Collins' campaign.
"Although some use a rape whistle for protection against sexual assault, a 9mm is the more preferred form of protection," the tweet reads. "#TheMoreYouKnow"
The tweet also includes two photographs--one of a rape whistle with RealVernonJones.com printed on it and the other of a pink handgun.
The context of the tweet is a 2005 rape allegation against Jones, a Democrat at the time, when he was the DeKalb County CEO. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation investigated, but the case never went to a grand jury and he was never criminally charged.
"He’s encouraging violence against me, my family, my supporters," Jones told FOX 5’s Rob DiRienzo. "These are the same false attacks that liberals used against President Trump, Justice Kavanaugh, and Justice Clarence Thomas."
Stephen Lawson, Collins’ spokesperson, accused Jones of using the tweet to scuttle the allegations.
"I think it’s just another case of Vernon Jones trying to distract from the truth," Lawson said. "He doesn’t want the voters of the 10th district to know about his shady corrupt past."
A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office said investigators reviewed the tweet and determined it did not break any laws, but they have Jones’ statement on file.
Georgia Gang contributor and InsiderAdvantage Georgia CEO Phil Kent said the tweet amounted to free speech.
"I would say it’s protected speech under the First Amendment, even though it might be distasteful," Kent explained.
Whoever wins on Tuesday in the deep-red district east of Atlanta is widely expected to cruise to victory in the general election in November.
"It is a bitter runoff and it’s because of the turnout," Kent said. "There’s going to be a low turnout, these are very conservative voters."
Early runoff voting is happening now. The primary runoff is Tuesday, June 21.