Joe Mullins, the local entertainment promoter and candidate for the House District 122 seat, is apparently a very confused man these days.
He’s extremely lost, but far from homeless.
The problem is, he’s not exactly sure where “home” is these days.
Here’s the deal: Over the past few weeks, questions have been raised as to whether Mullins even meets Georgia’s residency standards to qualify to run for the House District 122 seat previously held by State Rep. Ben Harbin.
While Mullins has been avoiding much of the local media like the plague, he did answer questions about the controversy from Columbia County News-Times Publisher Steve Crawford.
“I’ve lived in California and I’ve got a place in North Carolina and a place in Tennessee and one in Arizona, but my residency has always been here in Columbia County,” Mullins told Crawford last week. “I’ve only got one driver’s license. At any given time I only have one driver’s license in my pocket.”
But it didn’t take long for Crawford to discover that was not quite true.
The News-Times found out that in the past two years Mullins might have held valid driver’s licenses in three different states: Florida, North Carolina and Georgia.
Now, Mullins tried to brush off the accusations that he did not meet the state’s residency standards to run by saying, while he recently lived in Florida and North Carolina, he still maintained a primary address in Columbia County.
“It is something that is probably a little confusing to most people because having multiple residences and traveling like I did, but I just traveled a lot throughout the country and doing the work I did with the entertainment business we were all over at any given time,” Mullins told Crawford. “So you just establish your residency where you are.”
You see, us poor folks with no money just can’t understand someone like Mullins with not one, not two, but multiple homes around the country.
Folks, we just can’t wrap our little brains around such a thing.
After all, we are all still using outhouses and killin’ opossums and squirrels for supper, right?
All right, so here are the different scenarios Columbia County voters are facing: Either Mullins is so obscenely rich and completely detached from reality that he doesn’t know which of his many homes around the country is his primary address or that he even needs to define such a thing. (Because, as we all know, filthy rich people shouldn’t have to follow any rules.)
Or, maybe, he is just that dumb and he honestly doesn’t know that you’re not supposed to be running around with several different driver’s licenses from other states at the same time.
Or, the final scenario: he is just that dishonest.
Mullins is either completely detached, dumb or dishonest. Take your pick.
But none of these characteristics should be appealing to Columbia County voters.
Now, probably many of his supporters would say calling him dishonest is hitting below the belt.
Well, what would you call a man who insists his official residence is in Columbia County when qualifying to run for a state legislative seat, but just a little more than a year ago argued with the West Lake Country Club that he qualified for “non-resident status” because he lived in Florida?
According to documents that were first discussed on The Austin Rhodes show last week, Mullins claimed in April 2014 that he was a Florida resident.
The discussion came about after the board of West Lake Country Club sent him a letter stating it had determined that Mullins’ primary address was 3529 Carnoustie Drive in Martinez and his principal place of employment to be 4263 Washington Road.
In a letter dated April 15, 2014, Mullins wrote the following:
“In response to the letter that was sent on April 1, 2014, I am providing my front copy of my tax return to show I do live in fla. Also a copy of my driver fla. license.”
Probably not the best example of a well written letter that you want to send to a country club to make your case, but, hey, that’s what he wrote.
But it gets worse.
Mullins continued: “I am not sure who stated that I live primarily at 3529 Carnoustie Dr while I do stay there some of the time while dealing with family issues in town. I am not there that much. I would like to request that yall provide further info supporting that allegation or immediately change my status back to Non-resident.”
If you are trying to convince people that you’re a wealthy Floridian, you probably shouldn’t write a grammatically flawed letter that looks like it came from a backcountry boy with squirrel stuck in his teeth.
Anyhow, there you have it.
In April 2014, according to a letter he allegedly sent West Lake Country Club, he was a resident of Florida.
In accordance with Georgia code, candidates running for House seats are required to be a citizen of the Peach State for at least two years and a legal resident of their district for at least one year.
When Crawford asked Mullins about his 2014 letter to West Lake Country Club, Mullins claimed the letter and attached Florida tax return were “fabricated.”
But guess what, folks?
Representatives from the West Lake County Club say that’s exactly what happened.
They insist the documents are legit.
So, who do you think is lying?
Immediately, Mullins needed someone to blame, so he decided to point his fingers at one of his opponents in the House District 122 race, former Columbia County Commissioner and local attorney Mack Taylor.
Mullins told the News-Times that Taylor was behind the lies against him.
It was a conspiracy against him.
Taylor immediately shot down those accusations.
“Joe Mullins’ accusations are ridiculous and patently false,” Taylor said in a press release over the weekend. “I’m too focused on my campaign for the State House to worry about his.”
For the past two months, Taylor said he has been walking door-to-door meeting voters to talk about the issues important to “those who call Columbia County their home.”
“While Joe Mullins is trying to find someone to blame for the negative media attention, I am proposing important legislative solutions that will move this region forward,” Taylor stated. “Now is not the time for tired political games or finger pointing. Voters deserve real, consistent, conservative leadership and that’s exactly what I will provide if elected to serve in the Georgia General Assembly on November 3.”
All of this controversy and these questions surrounding Mullins’ legal residency may sound ridiculous to some citizens of Columbia County, but the fact is, this man is running for state office.
Mullins has a lot of money, which means he can pay for political ads and signs to be posted all over the county.
There are three candidates running against him – Pat Goodwin, Jodi Lott and Mack Taylor – but none of them have the same hefty purse to throw at their political campaigns as Mullins.
That’s the reality.
In less than two months, voters will head to the polls and they need to understand what kind of man is behind the “Vote for Joe Mullins” signs.
So, what do you think?
Detached, dumb or dishonest?