The full-contact nature of local politics should surprise no one, but the personal attacks in the 87th House of Delegates race have gone far outside the lines of respectable campaigning. One set of attacks seeks to capitalize on the electorate’s fear of the religious zealotry that has killed thousands by attempting to link the candidate to such radicals through nothing but rank speculation. The other set of attacks, though based on publicly available records, is no less shameful. Ferretted out of ten year old court files from outside the state, documentation of the candidate’s medical and family history was shopped around like gossip at a fishmarket before it finally ended up published on a local blog for the world to see.
So far, the despicable hits have not been directly linked to the opposing candidate. However, there has been ample opportunity for the candidates to denounce the attacks, and, sadly, neither has taken advantage of the opportunity. Thus, the candidates have, by virtue of their inaction, become conspirators (at least) in these attacks, and just as guilty as those who lead the charge.
Maybe they don’t care or they think they have all the political cover/distance from the perpetrators they need. As Republicans and Loudouners, however, we rightly should expect more of our candidates. Frankly, any candidate who would rely on such personal attacks to win a campaign does not deserve your support or your vote. Likewise, any candidate who refuses to condemn such attacks lacks the character and courage to properly represent Loudoun and the Republican Party in the House of Delegates.
It shames us all.
UPDATE: Amazingly, they still just aren’t getting the message. In a “friends” email sent today by one of them, the candidate complains about the actions of the other, but in it he quotes an email from Commonwealth Attorney Jim Plowman chastising them both:
I’m pretty certain that most people, including me, are getting tired of hearing about residency, medical histories, religion, past marriages, and whatever else the two of you have planned between now and August 23. For the sake of both of your families, your respective campaigns, the Republican party, your district, and how all of this nonsense reflects on other candidates, please try to clean it up.
Amen, Brother Jim!