Campaign dirt is getting out of control
October 25, 2018
The general election campaigning continues to boil and bubble.
Among last Friday's bulk mail was an ad urging District 19 voters to write in Teresa Purcell's name instead of voting for either Republican Jim Walsh or Erin Frasier for district representative.
Rose Lundy and The Daily News of Longview did a good job of following up on the mailer. Briefly, it come from either Walsh, Fraiser or Purcell. In fact, Purcell told The Daily News she is campaigning for Fraiser and is not a write-in candidate.
Instead, the mailer came from a Republican activist Glen Morgan. When contacted, Morgan admitted sending the mailer and also said he had sent similar mailings in two other legislative races and a Thurston County commissioner race.
Frasier called the mailing an attempt to split the Democrat vote in favor of Walsh. And Walsh said he had no knowledge of it.
I've been covering elections since 1974 and I've never seen a dirty trick like this. As an activist, he has filed a multitude of campaign financing complaints against Democrats, including Purcell, who was an unsuccessful candidate in 2016.
At least Morgan admits sending the mailing. Not everyone will do so.
In the past week, some Wahkiakum County residents have received a despicable, anonymous mailing regarding Sheriff Mark Howie, highlighting a misdemeanor offense he faced while he was in his 20's when he joined dozens of others young people skinny dipping at a beach at Lake Washington known for nude sunbathing. Charges were diverted, and after a year of clean record, charges were dropped. It didn't stop him from joining the Tukwila Police Department and rising in the ranks there before being invited to become our undersheriff under Jon Dearmore.
I contacted Graham Phelan, who's running against Howie for sheriff. He said he had no knowledge of the mailing, and I believe him.
"It didn't come from us," he said. "That's not what I'm about. I won't support a smear campaign."
One couple who received the mailing had written a letter to The Eagle. They returned home from a trip to find that their campaign yard sign supporting Howie had been vandalized.
Another mailing caught my eye Tuesday afternoon. Elochoman Valley resident Robert Jungers has sent a mass mailing opposing Mark Howie for sheriff.
What interested me was the subhead: "I submitted this letter to The Eagle three weeks ago and they declined to print it."
It is absolutely untrue that we declined to print his letter.
Regular readers will have noticed a plethora of letters the past few weeks. I don't doubt that Mr. Jungers sent us a letter, and if we didn't print it, it would be because we (probably me) lost it among all the others. That has happened to other writers who have contacted us, and their letters were resubmitted and printed.
We're not perfect; we admit mistakes and try to rectify them.