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Georgia attorney general's race heats up

Ahead of Tuesday's Georgia primary, the attorney general's race is worth watching.

It's taken a bitter turn in the Democratic primary with the release of a slickly produced ad featuring a mother whose son, she says, "was lying on the ground unarmed when a police officer shot him twice in the head." The ad features grainy video of the incident, which at the time of its prosecution stirred racial tensions.

The mother claims prosecutor (and candidate) Ken Hodges didn't get an indictment on the officer, because Hodges "forgot to swear him in, tried to hide the video and then refused to reopen the case. I could never get an answer why." The teary-eyed mom continues, "Mr. Hodges should not be our next attorney general."

The ad is being run by Democratic state Rep. Rob Teilhet.

Hodges shot back this way at a debate Sunday: "The death of Kenneth Walker was a tragedy, and my heart continues to be with the family. The fact that my opponent wants to exploit the family's grief and use it for political purposes is, quite frankly, disgusting."

And it has pushed back in other ways, per AP: "Greg Edwards, who was Hodges' co-counsel in the Walker case, said Hodges never tried to hide the video and has repeatedly said he would bring the case back to a grand jury if there was new evidence. The case did prompt Georgia lawmakers to pass legislation this year requiring prosecutors to swear in all witnesses who testify in front of grand juries."

AP's context: "With less than a week before the state primary, the bare-knuckles race for attorney general has managed to make the battle for governor appear almost tame in comparison."

This is the first time the state AG seat has been "open" in 60 years, AP notes.

More: "Hodges, a former Dougherty County district attorney, was appointed the special prosecutor to present the case to the Muscogee County grand jury in November 2004. The panel decided not to indict Glisson, stirring racial tensions in Columbus because Walker was black and the deputy is white."

The Republican race, meanwhile, has stirred charges of sympathizing with atheists, party-switching, and yes, being from New Jersey.

*** UPDATE *** The Hodges campaign contacted First Read and alerted us to its "comparative ad":