Ross Day: the signature-forging judge candidate

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

Down in Marion County, there's a controversial judicial race going on. Measure 37 activist Ross Day is running against Judge Paul Lipscomb. As the Salem Statesman Journal wrote:

Day, who graduated from law school six years ago, may be a fine advocate for the property-rights organization. He is ill-qualified to serve as a judge in one of the busiest, most important courts in the state. Because Marion County is the seat of state government, Lipscomb and his fellow judges are the first line of reasoning for many legal disputes involving state issues.

Lipscomb has shown the impartiality, integrity, hard work and thoughtful reasoning expected of a judge. He prepared himself well, serving as a temporary or part-time judge for several years before being elected first to the district court and later the circuit court.

Day lacks such judicial experience.

Here's where it gets fun. Voters in Marion County have received a flyer that includes this distinguished image:


That's all well and good - until you ask yourself one question: What is he writing?

It's not something legal or judge-like. It's not a personal letter. It's not even his own signature.

No, Ross Day - candidate for judge - is forging Jim Bunn's signature over and over and over.


Click on the image to zoom in.

As the Statesman-Journal wrote, regarding another issue:

For guidance, Day might have looked to words he wrote for his renumbered question No. 20: "The greatest challenge for a judge is to hold himself to a higher ethical standard than others in the community -- whether it is required or not. ..."

Day hasn't shown he meets that standard. Lipscomb does. Absolutely.

  • (Show?)

    Interesting. There's some controversy over some other campaign mail in the race -- this time, sent by an "independent" group calling itself Judicial Integrity Coalition (ha!) funded by national right-wing group FreedomWorks.

    Local judicial candidates tend to run low-key, high-minded campaigns. But fliers vilifying Presiding Judge Paul Lipscomb have pulled a Marion County race down to the level of a mud-wrestling match. The three fliers come from a political action committee with the chutzpah to call itself the Judicial Integrity Coalition. It is an offspring of FreedomWorks, a political group based in Washington, D.C., with a campaign center in Oregon. Ross Day, Lipscomb's challenger for Position 2 on the Marion County Circuit Court, claims he knew nothing about the fliers until they started showing up in the mail. The tabloid-style headlines don't necessarily represent his vision of his own campaign, he says, but he has no authority to stop them. Wrong. He has the moral authority to disown these despicable actions being conducted on his behalf. He has refused to do so. The Statesman Journal Editorial Board rarely probes the minutiae of individual campaign fliers. But these are egregious. They make Oregonians want to wash their hands after handling them. And because the Judicial Integrity Coalition still has $55,000 in the bank, there likely are more to come.
  • Jim Nelson (unverified)

    That will teach all candidates not to screw around during a photo shoot.

    That is just too funny.


  • TMN (unverified)

    I bet ole' Mr. Day won't be cracking jokes so fast after this one. You know the dumb dumb was making fun and just got caught.

    Wow...what a stupid mistake. Makes you think though....

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    I'm trying to figure out why he would be writing "Jim Bunn", "Jim Bunn", "Jim Bunn"....

    If it were "Ronald Reagan" or "Abe Lincoln" I'd understand -- summoning up their spirits from the vasty deep, but Jim Bunn?

    The disgraced congressmann is now a prison guard over in Yamhill.

  • Jim Nelson (unverified)

    Maybe Jim was the photographer...I mean as a sideline.


  • Kevin (unverified)

    Haha! Nice catch, Kari.

    Why Bunn and not Reagan or Lincoln?

    Freudian slip? Besides, Lincoln was a flaming liberal.

  • LT (unverified)

    Thanks for covering this, Kari. Those of us down here in Marion County have been dealing with this--and how an unknown would consider himself qualified to replace the experienced judge who not long ago had to deal with the guy who drove his SUV into the courthouse.

    Paul Lipscomb has been around a long time and has lots of friends--perhaps Ross Day didn't realize people are more likely to support the person they know over an unknown ideologue.

  • sasha (unverified)

    Mildy amusing, but hardly a scandal. And no, "forging" is not the correct term. Forging is signing another name with intent to defraud. Even if he was writing "Jim Bunn," (which isn't completely clear to me based on that photo) it still isn't forgery.

  • LT (unverified)

    It is JB --whether that is Jim Bunn is hard to tell. Blowhards of a feather flock together?

    To those who had to endure the nasty campaign here in Marion County it is more than mildly amusing.

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    Ross Day was a legislative aide to Congress-person Jim Bunn some years ago. This may explain the photo.

    I was staff director of a congressional subcommittee in the 1980s and worked with many members. At that time, each member would typically send out over 100 personal letters per day in response to constituent mail. To save time and avoid hand cramps, most had "signing machines," which were mechanical tools. I assume they now apply their signatures using by computer images, but I do not know.

  • (Show?)

    And many congressional staffers learn how to sign their bosses name in order to sign letters and other docs while their bosses aren't around (heck, plus they couldn't personally sign as many letters as they send out and nobody likes the e-sigs). In fact there is a great story about one member of Congress getting a campaign check he actually signed rejected by the bank b/c it didn't look like his signature. I guess the "staffer" version took on a look of it's own.

    Either way, funny stuff, thanks for that catch Kari, and for that information, Dan.


  • Ramon (unverified)

    [off-topic comment deleted. -editor.]

  • R U Nuts? (unverified)

    I think it is great that when D's go on the attack it is comparing but when Ross points out Lipscomb's poor judicial record that is a "nasty campaign." We are talking about the same guy who assigned M37 to a colleague, who it turns out was well, completely unqualified to deal with it (not matter how long she had been out of law school). On the five points she used to overturn it she couldn't get even one Supreme Court Justice to agree with her. These are the same judges that allowed live sex shows so they are not the most conservative bunch.

    But I digress, throughout this mess, Lipscomb never let on he was about to file his own Measure 37 claim.

    It is NOT nasty campaigning to point out the mistakes of a judge. It has just been too long since we have had someone like Ross willing to stand up and say enough is enough.

    Go Ross!

  • LT (unverified)

    RU-- As I understand the charge, 26 out of thousands of cases are the bone of contention.

    If the mailing had been from a group with a more honest sounding name (If it was paid for by FreedomWorks and the return address was FreedomWorks, for instance) and said something like "Compare Lipscomb's 26 cases to these other judges who have fewer such contentious cases" (don't recall the exact words of the mailer because they hit the recycle bin several seconds after they were read) that would have been comparative.

    But nasty is in the eye of the beholder. ANYONE who sees a mailer aimed at someone they have known for years has the right to decide for themselves if it seems slimy.

    And in a free country anyone has the right to agree with statements like this from the SJ As the Statesman-Journal wrote, regarding another issue:

    For guidance, Day might have looked to words he wrote for his renumbered question No. 20: "The greatest challenge for a judge is to hold himself to a higher ethical standard than others in the community -- whether it is required or not. ..." Day hasn't shown he meets that standard. Lipscomb does. Absolutely.

    Challengers of any sort need to realize that the "forget you've been friends with the other candidate because our candidate has the revealed truth and all good people support our candidate" attitude only alienates those who are not impressed. There's a long list of such campaigns going over like a lead balloon, and it is not partisan. A man in our church was so offended by the Zupancic primary campaign against Jackie Winters who he had known for many years that I think he still has the "Jackie Winters for Congress" sticker on his back bumper---you will notice if you look at the election results that although Zupancic won that primary with his vote margin in other counties, Jackie carried Marion County. Such campaign tactics strike some as juvenile and a disqualification for public office.


  • (Show?)

    What? This is it? This is all the scandal you have on Ross Day?

    It is no wonder he will be winning that race in a walk. The SJ has conveniently forgotten the stories they published regarding Lipscomb's own ethical challenges. They could have based the editorial on experience or lack of experience... But ethics and integrity?

    That cost the endorsement some teeth.

    yip yip

  • Former Salem Staffer (unverified)

    I enjoy this website considerably, to the point where I check it every day and can't imagine life without it...but this is the non-story of the century here. Screaming headlines about "forgery" have little to do with what's actually involved, which is nothing scandalous at all...amusing, yes, but criminal or unethical? Certainly not. I can understand attacking Ross Day's positions on things. You're all certainly entited to do that. But Former Congressional Staffer is completely right about legislative aides being able to copy their bosses' signatures. It's true--when you send out thousands of constuent cards every month, and your boss signs all of them, you see that signature quite a bit. I'm sure I'd still be capable of copying a few signatures myself, not that I ever would.

  • (Show?)

    The greatest contribution of the blogosphere to date has been to demonstrate incontrovertibly that it is Republicans whose ranks are overburdened with people who have no sense of humor.

  • Grant Schott (unverified)

    I knew Ross Day when I was president of the OSU Demcorats in '94/'95. Ross was extremely active in Republican politics, and he worked on Jim Bunn's campaigns and congressional staff and then for former House Speaker Lynn Snodgrass. I don't care what he signs, as long as he doesn't get elected! Having said that, I remember him as being friendly, extroverted and very true to his beliefs.

  • LT (unverified)

    A rebuttal for RU N

    The residents of Marion County who voted to re-elect Lipscomb were probably people who agreed with the SJ on this even if they have disagreed with SJ on many other issues.

    From the SJ editorial blog:

    But the smear campaign against Lipscomb was sick. Disagree with his decisions, fine. Call for new judges, fine. But don’t smear him with distortions and partial truths. And don’t ignore the sins of your own preferred candidate, Day.

    You can tell the sleaze campaign bothered the Editorial Board. We probably took notice, at least in part, because the anti-Lipscomb forces misused Statesman Journal headlines to rail against him. We also didn’t take kindly to the fact that Day skipped and re-numbered some questions on the Statesman Journal questionnaire, just as he did on the Oregon State Bar questionnaire. That seemed deceptive at best, unethical at worst.

    A few other observations about this race: -- The campaign materials for the “independent” Judicial Integrity Coalition and the Ross Day are too similar for anyone to believe that they weren’t connected. -- What the heck was Day writing on the paper in one photo in his flier? It looks as if he was writing “Jim Bunn” over and over. Day worked for the disgraced ex-congressman. -- On a lighter note, Lipscomb had one of the funniest lines – and revealing – of the campaign season. Asked about his family in the Statesman Journal, Lispcomb wrote in part, “I was born in Wisconsin, and as the second oldest of twelve children I started practicing dispute resolution at an early age.”


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