Gwinnett voters upset over alleged racially insensitive robo call

by: Amy Napier Viteri Updated:

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GWINNETT, Ga. —

Several voters in Gwinnett County were upset by a political robo call they described as racially insensitive.

"I actually was appalled when I heard it because I felt that it was demeaning," one woman who asked not to be identified told Channel 2's Amy Napier Viteri.

The woman said she got a call at home asking if she would take a survey related to the two candidates running for the Democratic state house of representatives seat for District 105 in Lawrenceville.

"It asked if I would vote for an Asian businessman or an African American swim mom", the woman said.

She said the call identified Tim Hur and Renita Hamilton as the respective candidates and eventually asked her to identify her own race.

Patricia Smith and Donna McLeod said they began receiving calls at their organization Black Women for Obama from people upset by the survey. They planned a rally at Rhodes Jordan Park Thursday at noon to protest the phone calls.

Channel 2 Action News reached out to both candidates Wednesday evening and received statements regarding the calls. Tim Hur issued this statement:

"In recent days, a robo call poll that asked specific questions about race went out to voters of House District 105. 

It is my understanding that a Republican firm conducted the poll. I, nor anyone on my campaign, commissioned, paid for or condoned the poll.

I am running as a Democrat because I believe in diversity. I am a strong proponent of ensuring all people – regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, income, education or orientation – have full access to the ballot box, a voice in government and the opportunity to fully participate and lead in the governmental process.

It saddens me that this poll has created divisiveness within the community. Clearly, the poll was designed as a wedge to divide voters in the May 20 Primary Election.

I will remain focused on my priorities of creating jobs that pay well, increasing the minimum wage, investing in our public schools, access to healthcare, equality and an open and transparent government. I will not be deterred by campaign mudslinging."

Renita Hamilton provided Channel 2 Action News with this statement:

"I've been made aware of the calls that have been received by the voters in my District, and I'm understandably concerned. I'm looking forward to learning more about where they're coming from, but my job right now is to worry about the people who live in my District and what I can do to best represent their interests."