If you’re a regular voter, congratulations. And you have our sympathy.
Yes, voting is part of a citizen’s civic duty. But there’s a down side: Your frequency of voting is a matter of public record, so those seeking your vote know to target you with their campaign literature.
Regular voters who live in communities where there’s a hot political race on the ballot are reaping that downside in the form of sleazy fliers in their mailbox.
Huge amounts of special interest funding — much of it so-called “dark money” from outside Washington — is flowing in to influence the Nov. 4 election. In some highly contested races, frequent voters are receiving so much campaign mail that it approaches overkill.
We applaud candidates who stick to promoting themselves and not attacking their opponents. But independent expenditures — which by law cannot be affiliated with a candidate — can hide spenders’ identities and launch attacks by proxy.
That’s happening in the 28th Legislative District state Senate race, where Democratic state Rep. Tami Green is running against Republican Steve O’Ban; he was appointed to the state Senate seat last year after serving six months in the House. A lot of outside money is flowing into this race because of its implications for control of the Senate.
While literature put out by O’Ban’s campaign is perfectly acceptable, a mystery group called the Good Government Leadership Council has sent out one sleazy flier after another to slam Green with laughably misleading claims.
So what is this “council,” which operates out of a Centralia post office box address? According to The News Tribune’s Melissa Santos, it’s a political committee funded mostly by Republicans who want to retain control of the state Senate. Although some of its claims have a kernel of truth to them, others are ridiculously out of context.
For instance, Green — an education champion — is criticized for cutting education funding. But during the recession, the Legislature had to cut expenses across the board to bridge a multibillion-dollar shortfall. Not even education was exempt. Green — and most other legislators — voted for those budget proposals out of necessity in a time of crisis.
Smart voters should ignore any campaign fliers that don’t include the candidate’s name in the “paid for by” line. Too many of the claims made by independently funded groups are falsehoods. When the candidate is willing to use his or her real name, it’s usually more believable.
An exception is going on in the 26th District, where Republican House candidate Michelle Caldier has made outrageous claims against Rep. Larry Seaquist, the Democratic incumbent. Her flier includes a badly doctored photo purporting to show the widely respected Seaquist as some kind of voyeur and implying that she’s being stalked and harassed.
“Caldier filed police report,” it states, failing to mention that Bremerton police told her Seaquist committed no crime by photographing her car with her in the driver’s seat. Seaquist is suing Caldier for libel.
We thought Caldier was better than this; we were mistaken. Voters should not reward her sleaziness with their support.