ALBANY, Ga. -- In response to the barring of the press from a Wednesday-morning fundraiser for Republican congressional candidate Mike Keown, U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, said he was unmoved by Keown's decision.
"I have no real reaction to his barring of the press," Bishop said Wednesday afternoon while attending an event at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in which the congressman presented Phoebe CEO Joel Wernick with a Congressional Record for the CEO's and the hospital's accomplishments in providing medical services to Southwest Georgia.
"Mr. Keown is free to entertain anyone he chooses," Bishop added.
Keown was hosting a $500-a-plate fundraiser headlined by U.S. House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, at Doublegate Country Club Wednesday morning when reporters covering the event were told by campaign staff and federal and local authorities to leave the premises shortly after Keown's arrival.
Bishop's voting record has come under attack recently through an advertisement paid for by the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee that was endorsed and reposted by Keown on his website and on the social networking site Twitter.
An e-mail from the Bishop for Congress Committee received by The Herald states the advertisement "perpetuates outrageous lies and falsehoods that have already been debunked by credible sources."
"It is clear just from the content of these advertisements that the NRCC and Mike Keown are losing ground so quickly that they've given up telling the truth and have decided to just make things up in the hope no one will notice," Bishop spokesperson Tim Turner wrote in the e-mail. "They are perpetuating untrue claims that were proven to be false over a year ago and lack the integrity to run a campaign on the merits.
"Sanford Bishop has firmly stood on the side of the facts and his record of bringing jobs and economic development to the 2nd District of Georgia. Instead of perpetuating untruths and misleading voters, Mike Keown should join with Congressman Bishop and call for these ads to be stopped."
Bishop also spoke briefly with The Herald on Wednesday afternoon about the campaign advertisement endorsed by Keown and the Republican congressional candidate's own endorsement from Boehner.
"When people do not have a record, they attack the other person. And when they have no connections in Washington, they attack Washington," Bishop said. "I suppose since Mr. Keown has attracted the attention of Mr. Boehner, he now has a different perspective. It goes with the times."
Bishop added he hoped voters would objectively evaluate both candidates' track records and come to the conclusion that his record is one of proven leadership and someone that has been working for them for years.
"The most important thing to consider during this race, I feel, is that the seat does not belong to Mr. Boehner, Mr. Keown or anyone else -- it belongs to the people of this district," Bishop said.