In an election season that has already had more than its fair share of lies and dirty tricks, here’s the latest. And — surprise! — while it involves a Senate race, this time it’s not the U.S. Senate but the Alaska State Senate at issue.
As you read through, note that by clicking on the pictures you can get through to my Flickr photostream, where you can view the images in full size.
Last night this ad appeared on Facebook:
Following the link led to a newly created Facebook page called “Vote Republican” which claimed that the Alaska Democratic Party had thrown Janet Reiser over in favor of a conservative candidate for the Alaska State Senate:
I’m not a Democrat (I’m undeclared), nor do I live on the Hillside or in Eagle River, areas covered by the seat for which Janet Reiser is a candidate. But I do believe in honesty in the political process, so I did a little research and added a couple of comments to the announcement on the “Vote Republican” page:
Over the course of an hour or so, whoever runs that page five times deleted a comment from me which included a link to the page at the Alaska Democratic Party website showing that Janet Reiser is still endorsed by the party as its candidate for that seat in the Alaska Senate. The last version of my comment read as follows:
I see you’ve deleted the link I provided a fourth time. Yet the Alaska Democratic Party still has Janet Reiser listed as an official Democratic candidate. http://www.alaskademocrats.org/candidates
Finally, the person who runs the page figured out how to keep me from adding comments, and proceeded to delete all comments contrary to the page’s claim that the Democrats had thrown Janet Reiser aside:
But when I got later in the morning, they had. Notice the little green graphic that’s now visible:
That’s pretty much as it looked last night, with the exception that last night there was no link in the middle of the press release that said “VIEW THE MAILER HERE.” But since now there was, I clicked on it. Look closely on green page in the fine print:
The fine print is hard to read, but if you click through to get the full size, here’s what you’ll read:
This notice to voters is required by Alaska law. We certify that this mailing is not authorized, paid for, or approved by the candidate. This communication was paid for by SDCC, Anchorage, AK. Approved by Johnny Ellis, Chair. Top SDCC contributors: Kenny Stephens, Juneau, AK; Wendy Chamberlain, Juneau, AK; Myra Munson, Juneau, AK.
The SDCC is the (Alaska) Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, and it really is located at 1231 W. Northern Lights Blvd #562 Anchorage, AK 99503, the return address given on the mailer.
Proof of the Alaska GOP’s claim, right?
Well… no. Because there are a couple of reasons why such a mailer might have gone out claiming to be from the SDCC.
- It could have been sent out by SDCC in order to encourage conservative Eagle River voters to vote for the non-affiliated Phil Dziubinksi instead of Janet Reiser’s more robust GOP opponent, Cathy Giessel, thus further splitting the conservative vote to benefit Reiser. Such conservative voters would be unlikely to vote for Reiser anyway, so nothing lost for Democrats to encourage that kind of a vote. Nothing illegal about Democrats mailing such a mailer, either.
- It could have been sent out by a dirty trickster pretending to be the SDCC.
In neither case does the mailer, even on the face of it, indicate that Johnny Ellis, Patti Higgins, or the Alaska Democratic Party have “dumped” Reiser or withdrawn their endorsement from her, as the Alaska GOP is falsely claiming.
Meantime, at least through about 12:00 noon today, when I began this post, every attempt that’s been made on either the “Vote Republican” or Alaska Republican Party Facebook pages to correct the record about that basic fact — that Janet Reiser is still officially supported and endorsed by the Alaska Democratic Party — has been deleted.
I beg to differ.
But this is the same party that wants us to be represented in the U.S. Senate by a self-admitted liar. So at least the Alaska GOP is consistent.
For more about the Alaska GOP’s lie, see:
- 10/31/10. “Dear AK Republican Party, Your Pants Are On Fire!” by Shannyn Moore (Mudflats).
For more about the race for Alaska Senate District P, see:
- 10/31/10. “Three joust in battle for Hillside Alaska Senate seat — DISTRICT P: Outcome of race could determine party split in the Senate” by Rosemary Shinohara
For the Alaska Democratic Party’s real stand on Janet Reiser, see:
- 10/31/10. The Alaska Democratic Party Proudly Supports Janet Reiser (Alaska Democratic Party website).
The Alaska Republican Party Facebook page has posted documents from the Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) which appear to prove pretty conclusively that the mailer sent to Eagle River voters supporting Phil Dziubinski was in fact sent out by the Alaska SDCC. The documents are headlined:
So looks like the first possibility I mentioned above — that the mailer was sent out by SDCC in order to siphon conservative votes from Reisser to Dziubinski is apparently true.
Which actually is a kind of campaign trick I think sucks. There are a host of reasons I’m not registered with any political party: here’s one.
And yet, still, nothing in the mailer substantiates or comes close to substantiating the Alaska GOP’s outright lie that the Alaska Democratic Party had withdrawn its endorsement of Janet Reiser.
In the Dirty Tricks competition, the Alaska GOP is a clear winner. Congrats, Republicans. I know you feel so proud.
Rosemary Shinohara now has a story about it on the ADN politics blog — “Last minute flap over Democrat flyer in Hillside, Eagle River Senate race” — which makes it clear that the Dems did send out the Dziubinski mailer. Shinohara writes,
Ellis, the co-chair of the state Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, said he was responsible for the flyer. He said, “The motivation was we want to keep bipartisanship going in the Senate.”
Dziubinski and Reiser are both more amenable to that approach than the Republican Party candidate, Cathy Giessel, said Ellis. Reiser has said she will only be part of a bi-partisan coalition.
When pressed as to whether he was trying to split the conservative vote to give Reiser a better chance, Ellis said, “It was to get the word out about Phil Dziubinski. It’s voter information. We admire the campaign that Phil Dziubinski has run.”
Still, he said, “The SDCC supports Janet Reiser, we always have.”
State Sen. Bill Wielechowski, co-chair of the SDCC, said he didn’t participate in the decision because he’s totally focused on his own campaign for re-election. “I certainly hope Janet does well,” he said.
Reiser said she heard about the SDCC move at mid-day today.
Regarding the Republican Party’s press release claiming she’d lost her party’s support, she said, “They know that that’s ridiculous to take that and twist it around. It’s disgusting last-minute tactics.”
As I told a friend of mine, the fact that the SDCC sent out the Dziubinski mailer leaves a bad taste in my mouth. BUT — it was not a lie on the Dems part, nor was it illegal — it was the kick & punch of normal American political campaigning. The Repubs, however, lied outright with their press release. I fully agree with what Janet Reiser said about it, & I’ll repeat it here:
[The Alaska GOP] know that that’s ridiculous to take that and twist it around. It’s disgusting last-minute tactics.
A last word…
I can’t say I really buy Johnny Ellis’ rationale, that “The motivation [behind the mailer] was we want to keep bipartisanship going in the Senate,” or that they did it “to get the word out about Phil Dziubinski. It’s voter information. We admire the campaign that Phil Dziubinski has run.”
Sounds pretty hooey to me.
I do live in Johnny Ellis’ district. He’s my state senator. And I’ve always considered him one of the good guys. It disappoints me that the SDCC did this & that he approved it. While technically legal, it stinks. I expect better from the good guys. I expect them to be better, very much better than the bad guys. But in this, the good guys are tainted.
The fact that the Alaska GOP blew it even more than you did doesn’t change your responsibility in this matter. You blew it, Johnny.