MACON, Ga. — Georgia's 2nd Congressional District candidate Wayne Johnson is suing Republican nominee Jeremy Hunt, the Fox News network, and one of their anchors. He claims the network gave his runoff opponent free airtime -- he calls them "infomercials" -- and he says that's why he missed making next Tuesday's Republican runoff.
Wayne Johnson says if you believe his racketeering lawsuit against his former opponent Jeremy Hunt is about losing, you'd be wrong.
He says he thinks his racketeering complaints against Hunt, the Fox News network and its anchor will stick.
"Candidate Hunt will make a lot of claims that this is political sour grapes. It is not political sour grapes," Johnson said.
Johnson and his attorney Devlin Cooper said Friday that Hunt's 15 appearances on Fox adds up to up almost $3 million in free airtime and endorsements. He also thinks it's illegal.
”A systematic and deliberate violation of America's campaign finance laws, America's election laws, the Equal Time Act,” Johnson’s attorney Devlin Cooper said.
In response, Jeremy Hunt sent 13WMAZ this statement saying: "Wayne Johnson is a twice-failed candidate desperately seeking his last 5 minutes of fame. It is sad that Wayne Johnson and Chris West have resorted to such desperate tactics. This lawsuit will be dismissed as quickly as Wayne Johnson was dismissed by the voters of the 2nd District. It's telling that Chris West refuses to denounce dirty tricks like these often played by the radical left against true conservative candidates."
Charles Bullock, political science professor at the University of Georgia, says it's hard for candidates to sue each other.
"You know, candidate might say, 'I’m going to sue my opponent for libel or slander,' but even those rarely get filed because once you step into the public area, you pretty much have to take what comes at you," Bullock said.
Although discussions about election integrity continue on in politics, Bullock says lawsuits challenging media coverage are also rare.
"The argument that you're being treated unfairly by a media outlet, I’m not familiar with cases like that. I’m not saying there haven’t been, but I'm certainly not aware and I don’t think there been a case like that in Georgia," he continued.
Johnson and his attorney say they made Fox aware of their violation of the equal time rule, which means candidates have the same right to appear on air as their opponent. Johnson says he was invited to participate on the show but only once. Johnson is seeking compensation for the cost of all the airtime Hunt received, totaling almost $3 million. We reached out to Fox News, but they did not respond.