Brookhaven City Councilmember Bates Mattison has a, ahem, nose for politics, you might say.
He’s backing Republican Karen Handel in the 6th Congressional District race over Democrat Jon Ossoff, but you wouldn’t know it through a formal endorsement sent out in, say, a press release.
Instead, Mattison is featured in a “b-roll” video unearthed by MSNBC news anchor Rachel Maddow last Friday. Candidates typically record video of themselves doing political-looking stuff to put on YouTube with the intention they are to be picked up by Super PACS to use in ads to raise large sums of money for their candidate.
Typically, though, the audio of the videos is muted. But not in the video found by Maddow and broadcast nationally to the amusement of her viewers.
In one scene, filmed at Town Brookhaven about six weeks ago, the b-roll video shows Mattison and Handel engaging in a friendly conversation. The conversation includes Mattison describing in detail a painful nose waxing complete with hand motions to describe how he felt he was smacked in the back of the head when the wax was pulled from his nostril.
“We were at Town Brookhaven and I was telling her the story of a great Brookhaven business, Eighteen Eight Men’s Salon,” Mattison said.
Handel is also discussing sipping on margaritas with Mattison and he explained that she was speaking of another Town Brookhaven business — Jefe’s Tacos & Tequila.
“We were talking about the great businesses and restaurants in Brookhaven,” an exasperated Mattison said.
Mattison said he found out about the video on Maddow’s show when he received a text from a friend on Saturday. Someone from the Handel campaign called him on Sunday, but he was not able to talk to them because he was in church where his child was being confirmed, he said. He still has not spoken to the campaign, he said.
“I was shocked when it came out,” Mattison said. But more than shocked, he’s frustrated and disappointed.
“I’m frustrated that things like this receive national media attention,” he said. “Rachel Maddow has taken the audio out of context … and this has nothing to do with the issues.
“This might play well for a sound bite and good ratings for Rachel Maddow … but this is part of the frustration people have with politics,” Mattison said. “They are making a mockery of this … rather than talking about the candidates and the issues.”
Of course, the Republicans making fun of Ossoff in the now infamous “Han Solo” ad using footage of the candidate dressed as the Star Wars character while in college is up the same alley, Mattison said.
“It’s important we focus on the issues. You can always take something out of context and use it to embarrass someone,” Mattison said. “But in reality, this [election] is a very important decision.
“It is what it is,” he added. “Frankly I’m embarrassed Rachel Maddow would stoop to that level as a means to discredit a candidate.”
As for his support of Handel, Mattison said he’s long been a supporter of the Republican and came to know her when she was chair of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners.
“She has a proven track record,” he said. “Ossoff has never reached out to me or to local officials … and I’ve never seen him in the community or anything he’s done. She has a proven track record and for that reason I choose Karen Handel.”
Absentee voting in the 6th Congressional District runoff race started today, May 2. The election is June 20.
Watch the Maddow clip below.