HD-16: Robin Brown Campaign Misleadingly Quotes BlueOregon

By Robin Ozretich of Corvallis, Oregon. Robin is a writer, musician, and publisher of Corvallis Scene. Previously, Robin contributed "Gordon Smith: Key vote on Net Neutrality".

My wife and I were looking through our mail this afternoon, when we noticed a postcard from Robin Brown, Republican candidate for House District 16 running against incumbent Democrat Sara Gelser. After noting that candidate Brown did not mention her party affiliation (Republicans aren't that popular around here), I noticed a few quotes that were grouped under the heading "What Are Democrats Saying About Sara?" These quotes were erroneously attributed to a site called "OregonBlue.com," a site which we discovered doesn't exist. Assuming that perhaps it was a typo, we tried BlueOregon.com and did manage to find the three quotes. They were from the comment thread under an article written in November 2005, after Kelly Wirth resigned from her position representing HD-16.

Do these three quotes from nearly a year ago, and posted semi-anonymously, really reflect "what Democrats are saying" about Sara Gelser? The folks who posted the comments that were quoted by the Brown campaign were not necessarily Democrats -- many Republicans and Independents post comments at BlueOregon. And while at least one of the quotes came from someone who described themselves as "a partisan Democrat", this means nothing because there is no way to verify anyone's identity or political affiliation on a comment thread at BlueOregon.

So here we have it: a Republican disseminating negative quotes about her Democratic opponent and attributing them to other Democrats, with no proof of the sources' actual identities or party affiliations. I'd add that Brown's source for the quotes doesn't exist, but "OregonBlue.com" may have been an honest typo.

One thing is clear, however. The Brown campaign is doing what Republicans are best at -- distorting the truth for political gain.

The Gelser campaign should demand a retraction and an apology from Robin Brown.

Editor's note: Scans of the attack mailer are available on the jump...

Zoom in to read the back side.

  • (Show?)

    Sara Gelser responded to the flyer directly in a letter to the Corvallis Gazette-Times:

    Tuesday — like many Benton County voters — I received a postcard from my opponent that distorts my positions on issues related to schools and sex education curriculum.

    I was one of few Oregon candidates to complete the Project Vote Smart survey. I did so because it's important for voters to know where I stand. It is disappointing to see my responses distorted for political advertising, particularly by a candidate who chose not to respond to the survey herself.

    The postcard claims I don't support teen sexual abstinence education. In fact, my survey clearly states that I "support sexual education programs that include information on abstinence, contraceptives, and HIV/STD prevention methods." I support including abstinence education as part of a comprehensive sex education curriculum in order to reduce teen pregnancy and STD transmission.

    The postcard also misinforms readers about my position on education. I indicated that I support allocating state funding to hire additional teachers, increasing funding to Head Start and providing assistance to school districts with their capital construction and infrastructure costs. I did not indicate opposition to salary increases for teachers. I believe this is a decision to be made at the local level. My support of education is demonstrated by the endorsements I have received from Oregon Education Association, Oregon School Employees Association, American Federation of Teachers-Oregon, and CARE—Citizens Alliance for a Responsible Education.

    I am proud that I filled out the Project Vote Smart survey and invite you to examine my responses fully at Project Vote Smart.

    Sara Gelser

  • (Show?)

    again and again, i am proud that Sara Gelser is not only my State Representative and the nominee of my party, but that she is my friend. i am proud for the small role i play in her campaign, doing her website, and that this weekend i will be going door-to-door to let my neighbors in Corvallis know how fortunate we are to have her in our community. she and her husband Peter are among those rare people who really are that good.

    the Republicans can throw any number of candidates, and lies, they want at Sara. it doesn't matter. her campaign never has been, and never will be, against them. her campaign is about what she has done for the community and will continue to do. it's the kind of positive campaign all candidates should seek to emulate. including Ms Brown, who has resorted to the other kind. too bad she couldn't do better.

    onward and upward, Sara.

  • William (unverified)

    Note that the Project Vote Smart website is actually at this URL: http://www.vote-smart.org/

  • Jesse O (unverified)

    luckily, Robin's piece is really sloppy and she doesn't have a chance in heck.

  • (Show?)

    Sara Gelser is providing incredible leadership for her district and our state. In just 10 months, she has hit the ground running -- effectively serving on key interim committees, helping pass good bills during the special session, crafting important legislation for next session to benefit Oregon children, advocating for her constituents with state agencies, and becoming a key leader in the House Democratic Caucus.

    Robin Brown has no idea what she is talking about. I'm confident that voters in Corvallis and Philomath will recognize Sara's accomplishments to date -- and the great legislative future before her -- and send her back to Salem to keep fighting for them.

    I was proud to endorse Sara when she was running against Kelley Wirth, I was proud to attend her swearing-in ceremony last December, and I will be proud to stand with her in early January when she is sworn in for a full term.

    "The Best Person for the Job" and "Real Leadership"? Sounds like Sara Gelser.

  • Independent Voter (unverified)

    Sara Gelser rocks!

  • Bruce Freeman (unverified)
    <h2>In District 24, the Republican candidate Donna Nelson has employed the Rovian "smear and fear" tactics in an attempt to harm challenger Sal Peralta. Nelson's phone-calling center is speading the word Peralta has accepted outside money, which he has not. Peralta vowed at the beginning of his campaign not to accept PAC or special-interest contributions, unlike Nelson who gets campaign money from dozens of special interest and right-wing groups. We have no room for the Nelson/Republican negativism with so many issues of import facing Oregonians. It is time for change from the Republican divisive tactics, and I would urge caring Oregonians in District 24 to vote for Peralta who is running on the issues and not negative/derrogatory accusations so we can get away from the lies, deceit and spin of the right wing and concentrate on making Oregon better, with a start in District 24. ~Bruce Freeman</h2>
guest column

connect with blueoregon