Updated:ATLANTA — A political mailer is stirring up painful memories and new controversy in two Fulton County's commission races. The flier features courthouse gunman Brian Nichols on the front and photos of Chairman John Eaves and Commissioner Robb Pitts inside.
The flier, sent to thousands of registered voters, was paid by the Fulton County Republican Party.
Political Flier Stirs Up Controversy WATCH: GOP Attack Ad
Eaves said his first thoughts when seeing the flier were, "Disgusted, disappointed, very false allegations."
The flyer accuses Eaves and Pitts of trying to use money for courthouse security upgrades to build an aviation museum instead. Eaves adamantly denies the claim.
"I have been pushing for security to the courtroom. We got it several months ago, so the allegations that are being made by my opponent are strictly false and are very misleading to the public," Eaves told Channel 2's Jodie Fleischer.
In fact, the commissioners ended up voting to fund the courthouse security upgrades as well as the aviation museum.
"It was a win-win situation, so for these individuals and my opponent in particular to be very misleading is very disappointing, and I think he deserves to make an apology," Eaves added.
Eaves' opponent, Steve Broadbent, said the commissioners wouldn't have approved the funding if not for immense public pressure.
"On Aug. 10, the sitting county commissioners were considering the diversion of funds from courthouse security to an aviation museum. It was only after public outrage by elected officials and private citizens that they funded the courthouse security improvements," said Broadbent.
Pitts's opponent, Lori Henry, said she hadn't seen the flier, but she and Broadbent agree that the topic is important to voters, and that political use of the Nichols' shooting is appropriate.
"He's the best known mass murderer in the history of this state, of course it's fair game," said Broadbent.
Eaves pointed out that the entire commission voted on the security upgrades and the museum, not just he and Pitts.
"These two commissioners are the two commissioners in contested races, and this is absolutely an issue about the leadership of Fulton County," he said.
Eaves said he is trying to keep his campaign positive.
"I think that I have a strong record that I'm running on and my opponent is getting desperate," he said.
The Republican Party is also responsible for a TV commercial claiming Eaves and Pitts fired two whistleblowers who reported fraud by county employees, but the county manager was actually responsible for the decision. One employee was fired, the other was demoted.
Both Eaves and Pitts have called for full investigations into the handling of that situation.