A smear piece was sent out to Jackson County residents this week bringing up a 20 year old child custody issue. The mailer stated that Democratic Candidate for District 3, Alan Bates failed to appear in a Colorado court in 1981 over child custody matters, triggering a bench warrant for his arrest. It also stated that he failed to pay more than $29,000 in child support.
Bates, of course, didn't deny any of the claims in the piece. The mailer was however clearly one of selective information omitting pertinent facts that the court awarded custody of the two children to Bates because the mother had created an environment that was "clearly harmful".
An article appeared this morning in the Medford Mail Tribune with GOP Candidate Jim Wright denying any involvement.
"Republican candidate Wright denounced the mailers and said he had no prior knowledge that a third party would send them out, although he had heard rumors.
"I would have done anything to not have this happen," he said. "This is not how I wanted to get to Salem."
Even though Wright denied any involvement, he did receive campaign money from the group that sent out the mailer.
"The mailers are being distributed this week in Jackson County by the Leadership Fund, a Salem political action committee that supports Republican candidates in Oregon.
The Leadership Fund is one of the biggest contributors to the Wright campaign, giving $37,234 so far. The Wright campaign also will be required to list the cost of the mailers as an in-kind contribution."
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In a phone call to the Wright campaign, I was able to get Jim Wright on the phone where he profusely apologized for the mailer stating he was as surprised as everybody. When I ask him about all the money he received from The Leadership Fund, he told me all GOP candidates in Oregon get money from them. He went on from there apologizing for the mailer saying he had nothing to do with it. I asked him if he would be willing give the money back to The Leadership Fund to show that he wasn't aligned with them on the piece and he said that this campaign would. I ask further if they would issue a press release stating they would return the $37,234 back to the Leadership Fund. He said they issued a press release to Damian Mann, however Damian said he hasn't received anything as of yet from the Wright Campaign.
From The Leadership Funds website: http:www.senateleadership.com
The Leadership Fund is dedicated to securing a Republican majority in the Senate in 2004. We have an excellent field of candidates who will help us reach that goal.
Please take time to learn more about our candidates. With your help we can ensure a Republican majority!
Senate Republican Leadership
THE LEADERSHIP FUND
PO Box 2168
Salem, OR 97308
Phone 503.587.9366 -- Fax: 503.587-7149
Senate District 3
Committee to Elect Jim Wright
PAC ID: 4875
2594 E. Barnett Rd, Ste. G
Medford, OR 97504
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