Some Background on The Democrat Nominee for Georgia’s 11th Congressional District

I had never heard or read the name Katy Stamper before I saw it pop up on illegally placed yard signs in the right of way along Sixes Road in Cherokee County. The fact that she won the Democrat nomination to face off against Republican Incumbent Barry Loudermilk in November is of little consequence because Loudermilk maintains a high degree of popularity among his heavily Republican District. So the fact that someone I had never heard of won the Democratic nomination didn’t seem newsworthy. Whoever that candidate may be is merely cannon fodder in November.

But then I saw this on Twitter and I was flooded with memories about the woman who now goes by Katie Stamper, only I knew her as Karen Sacandy, the flaming racist.

You see, I had the distinct honor of being the State Representative for Karen Sacandy back when she went by that name. She was a regular at Cherokee County Republican Party events and attended many of the town halls I hosted while in office. She sported a homemade sign she posted in the backseat window of her car, written in chicken scratch, decrying the evils of immigration. Whenever she showed up, it was as reliable as the sunrise that she would bring up the topic of illegal immigration.

In fact, I had gotten so used to her being the one who would always bring the conversation back to the subject that in a debate during my primary challenge in 2016, when she submitted an anonymously written question about it, I knew it was from her. The moderator had difficulty reading her handwriting, or the grammar was off, but it wasn’t quite making sense. So I looked out into the audience and found her, said I assumed the question was from her, and asked her to clarify so she could get an answer. It was indeed her question.

Now, it is one thing to be anti-illegal immigration. It is another thing altogether to make assumptions about people because their skin color is different than yours. Karen didn’t draw the distinction and she didn’t care about things like the legal definition of citizenship.

At one town hall meeting hosted by the Cherokee County Republican Party she demanded to know what I was going to do about the fact that some public schools had student populations made up of over 50% illegal immigrants. I was knocked back by the question for several reasons. The Georgia State Constitution requires every child be provided with an adequate public education. You may not like that wording or how it has been interpreted, but if you read the written word it makes no account for citizenship. Therefore it is not allowable to ask for the immigration status of a child when they show up to a public school to enroll. The state doesn’t even track immigration status of school children because they are not allowed to.

But also the claim just seemed absolutely preposterous on its face.

I tried to push back gently at first. I asked her for the source of her data and she said the state board of education’s website. I asked if she would show that to me when we finished and then I moved on to other topics. But the moment we wrapped the town hall Karen was standing in front of me, phone in hand. “See?”

I looked at her phone and she had pulled up a state website that listed demographic makeup of different school systems. If I remember correctly, she had zeroed in on the City of Dalton Public Schools and a majority of the students were listed as Hispanic. At first I guess I thought she had made an honest mistake so I engaged in what some might consider mansplaining. “Oh,” I said, “That doesn’t say illegal immigrant, it says Hispanic.”

Completely deadpan she responded, “same thing.”

Wait… What?

I froze. She sensed my hesitation and continued, “It’s math.”

Wait… What?

“I’m afraid I am not following what you are telling me.”

The slightest bit of impatience with me built into incredulousness. “Scot, when I was in high school in the 70’s, there were only a few Hispanic students. Now they are everywhere. The only way that population grows that fast is if they came here illegally. It’s a MAAAAAATH problem!”

Still stunned but trying to salvage the interaction, I collected myself in time to respond, “Karen, I think what I need from you right now is some sort of recognition that a person can be Hispanic and also be an American Citizen.”

“No! They are the same thing. It’s MMMMMMMAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTHHHHHH!

I took a breath. “That is incredibly racist. This conversation has come to an end.” And I left her behind as I addressed another constituent.

There is a group of conservatives in Cherokee County who meet up every Friday morning. Back then they would hole up in the back of the Wendy’s in Holly Springs and would usually get started around 6:30 AM. The Friday morning after that momentous town hall, I pulled in to the Wendy’s parking lot at about 7:00 AM. When I got out of my car I was greeted in the parking lot by the then Mayor of Holly Springs, he came with a warning: “Karen is in there and she has been going off about you all morning. She is telling people you called her a racist.”

“No worries. I got this. Thank you for the heads up.”

I proceeded to casually get my honey butter chicken biscuit and potato wedges and joined the gathering. No sooner than I sat down, Karen interrupted everyone and shouted, “I want you to explain to everyone here why you called me a racist!”

I looked at her, I looked around at the suddenly solemn faces in the group, and then back to her. “Because you are.”

A year and a half passes and the Cherokee County GOP was holding its convention at the County Commission Building in Canton. I am notorious for not being able to sit still during conventions, preferring to walk around the room and chat with people. During a moment when delegates were allowed to address the convention from microphones placed in the crowd, Karen took her shot.

“I just want everyone here to know that Scot Turner!” Turning around to point at me in the back of the room. “Called! Me! A RACIST!”

From my vantage point in the back of the room I saw over 100 faces in the crowd turn to look at me in unison. I uncrossed my arms and put my palms out in front of me while shrugging my shoulders and began to nod my head. “Yeah. I did that. Because you are.”

But being a racist is not everything Karen Sacandy, now Katy Stamper, is. She also had a proclivity for interrupting women when they were speaking at events. At one Cherokee GOP Breakfast, a young female staffer for the Karen Handle for US Senate Campaign was addressing the crowd and she proceeded to intentionally clang her spoon inside her coffee cup the entire time so that it was so loud as to be a distraction. When someone asked her to stop, she said, “what? A married woman shouldn’t be running for that office anyway.”

Now look, a lot of conservatives believe the issue of illegal immigration is a very serious issue and it needs to be dealt with in multiple ways. I am one of those conservatives. But there is a very serious difference between genuine policy concerns or trying to deal with the humanitarian crisis at the border, and labeling every Hispanic American Citizen as an illegal. The left likes to paint conservatives who are concerned with the problem as a racists so it makes sense that many did not fully understand when I labeled her that way. But when I tell these stories, every reasonable Republican who has heard them understands and agrees with my assessment.

Now how does someone like Karen Sacandy, who believes every Hispanic is an illegal, become the Democrat nominee for US Congress? Well some Democrats in the 11th District have a theory that Republicans urged their voters to pull Democrat primary ballots just to vote for her. At least that’s the theory of Pam Martella Shaouy, the Democrat activist who made me aware that Karen is now Katy.

I am not sure I buy that. For one, many of the State House and Congressional primary challengers were recruited by Cherokee County Republican Party officials to run against incumbents. They were actively supporting the primary challengers to Barry Loudermilk, State Reps Brad Thomas and Jordan Ridley, and State Senator Kay Kirkpatrick. Because they were invested in their quixotic quest to see those incumbents taken down, there was no wide spread effort to get Republicans, at least in Cherokee, to cross over just to vote for Karen, err Katy Stamper.

Of course if there is some enterprising person out there who is motivated to find out how many Republicans crossed over in Georgia’s 11th District Democrat Primary, it would not be too hard to put an actual number on it. They would simply need to get the voting record, which is publicly available, of the voters who participated in the the Democrat primary and then compare it with a well known voter database that ranks how red or blue individual voters tend to be. These are the types of lists campaigns use during primaries to target voters most likely to vote in those contests.

And Karen’s, err, Katy Stamper’s margin of victory was almost 3,200 votes. That would take a massive, coordinated effort that spanned multiple counties to pull off, and as I said, the Cherokee County GOP didn’t encourage that at all.

But now the Democrats have a problem in Katy Stamper. She clearly does not share their values but has earned their party’s nomination. It may be tempting for them blame the primary system for it, but that would be short sighted and self defeating on their part in a lot of ways. A personal anecdote may be in order to illustrate why.

When I first ran for office in 2012, I was using one of those targeted lists while knocking on doors in one of House District 21’s largest neighborhoods. Occasionally I would come across a house that wasn’t on the list but had Republican yard signs out front. So naturally I would stop to speak with them even though they were not listed as having participated in Republican Primaries. I remember this house in particular because the yard signs were for a Republican School Board post level race, the Republican School Board Chair’s race, and for Brandon Beach who was challenging Chip Rogers for State Senate. This House was not in Rogers’s Senate District so it was a little off.

I knocked on the door and was greeted by several very upset, tiny dogs, that apparently wanted to eat my ankles. The woman behind the screen door acknowledged through the eruption of barking and growling that she already knew who I was and was planning to vote for me in the primary. I left my push card on the porch and thanked her and went about my way in hopes her dogs would soon calm down for her and also grateful to have her vote.

I was a couple of blocks away when she found me on the street. She had hopped in her car to come find me, this time sans the dogs, so that she could have a more productive conversation. She explained to me that she was the Chairwoman of the Cherokee County Democrat Party and at first I was taken aback. When I pointed out that she had Republican yard signs, she fessed up; she was voting in the Republican Primary because in Cherokee County those were the only races that mattered.

This phenomenon is not unique to Cherokee County. We all know the story about how Republicans crossed over in Dekalb County to oust Cynthia McKinney in favor of Denise Majette and in the same cycle Democrats crossed over to vote for John Linder over Bob Barr.

At a certain point you have got to have faith in the voters.

While I am certain there will be calls from Democrats pissed off about Stamper’s win to alter the way we run primaries in Georgia, I would argue that will only lead to increased political polarization in our state. Especially with some activists in the GOP who don’t want even reliable Republican voters to participate in primaries, preferring to consolidate nominations behind closed doors and subject them to back room deals.

So while I find the nomination of a flaming racist by Democrats to be amusing, especially given my personal history with her, I would encourage everyone to keep the bigger picture in mind. The candidate who lost to Stamper had already been beaten by Loudermilk by a landslide in 2022. He would have had no hope of winning this time either. So calling for changes because your preferred candidate lost this time when he had no shot in November anyway will only come back to bite all of us later.

But if you need me to tell people that Katy Stamper is a flaming racist, I am more than happy to oblige.

6 Replies to “Some Background on The Democrat Nominee for Georgia’s 11th Congressional District”

  1. Scot it sounds like she is crazy and we do have crazies in the GOP but I lay this at the feet of Mitt Romney who enraged Republicans with his weak defense of himself ,his supporters and his own campaign.I am voting for Trump..I preferred Ron and I ended up voting Haley in the Ga Primary.Republicans should have punched back and the BASE just got tired of the weak wimpy Republicans that have no survival instincts …the Democrats take care of their voters and protect them …Republicans must learn to be strong …thrill its voters ..and start winning elections and not let the Left walk all over them .

  2. Hey Scott — I just gave Paul Kettering a call, and neither of us are of the view that the CCRP recruited us to run. For me, it was over abortion positioning.

    The CCRP was pretty devoted to being neutral, even somewhat controversially scheduling a Kay CCRP event in the month or two before voting to take place after voting which it seems some of my supporters pushed back on but were overruled as it was for after voting day — apparently this event on 6/6 —

    I’m not even aware of any CCRP current leadership team members having been explicit supporters of my candidacy. Abortion positioning is was what got me going towards running, and was enough for me personally, though I gained other reasons as I got more into it (I like my economic improvements + tax cuts agenda).

    A bunch of members I think may have preferred our more pro-life positioning, but I even skipped the second forum because I thought the rules (incumbent can highlight their voting record but challenger can’t mention it) were too incumbent-favoring to be my most productive time use (maybe I was wrong). After the Cobb forum oddly gave like a medical program quiz question in their forum “What is Georgia Access?” (usually the questions are open-ended about candidate positions), I felt like like it seemed local/incumbent rigged, though apparently a bunch of folks in the crowd liked my vision of turning Cobb red with my platform. Maybe a precinct chair somewhere had a yard sign for me, but I never heard anybody in party leadership express a desire for me to win against Kay, especially not in any official capacity. Even when someone asked if I could get party get voter data, I was told no, for instance.

    I would have called to go over it, but couldn’t find a number. CCRP folks were pretty solid on being appropriately neutral is the main clarification from my experience that I wanted to share. Thanks!

    1. Peach Pundit is in possession of screen shots of multiple individuals who currently hold formal roles within the Cherokee County Republican Party who definitely took up the roles of supporter and recruiter. As such I am confident in the statement, “many of the State House and Congressional primary challengers were recruited by Cherokee County Republican Party officials to run against incumbents. They were actively supporting the primary challengers to Barry Loudermilk, State Reps Brad Thomas and Jordan Ridley, and State Senator Kay Kirkpatrick.”

      1. I definitely wasn’t recruited to run by anybody to my knowledge, and I’m pretty sure there’s no screenshot for that for me at least. Maybe I got more support than I realize. The most I can think of is I got an FB like from James Dvorak like after the election (which could be interpreted as liking my contentment in losing), but lots of folks in politics like both candidates’ stuff and posts and folks are generally friendly with both sides. I never heard a CCRP official disparage Kay. I often get friend requests from folks and even likes from folks who have already liked Kay’s stuff. My experience was pretty neutral at least. I remember a guy I thought was very likely a supporter for me surprisingly showed up as being a donor to Kay. Hehe. I think that reads to most like / implies someone in the CCRP recruited me, but I’ve shared my piece so moving on. 🙂

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