Republican official resigns over his party's negative ads
Note: Wayne Stanford, mentioned in the article below, is an MEA-MFT member. He happens to be a Democrat. He is one of 20 MEA-MFT members -- from both parties -- running for the Montana state legislature.
Wayne is not the only Democratic candidate being subjected to the mud-slinging described below. From the Bitterroot to Glendive and everywhere in between, Democratic candidates have been the targets of lies, distortions, half-truths, and downright smears from their opponents’ party during this election season.
One Republican party official finally resigned over his own party's mud-slinging.
Rep. MacLaren resigns as Republican PAC treasurer over negative ads
By WILL MOSS - Ravalli Republic | Sunday, October 24, 2010
Everyone knows that contentious election seasons can get a little, well, mud-spattered, and many just accept that as part of the process. But for Rep. Gary MacLaren of Victor, the slinging got a little out of hand earlier this month.
It all began when MacLaren, the incumbent Republican candidate in the race for House District 89, was identified as treasurer of the Montana Republican Legislative Campaign Committee - a political action committee based out of Helena -- on a number of campaign mailers delivered statewide.
The mailers targeted Democratic candidates for Montana's Legislature - including Ravalli
County candidates Terry Moran (HD 88) and Wayne Stanford (HD 90) - branding them as
"ultra liberals that supported Democrat schemes that have cost us billions and failed to create jobs."
"Politicians like Wayne Stanford are siding with out-of-touch liberals like President Obama and his liberal allies," one mailer said. "Don't let Wayne Stanford bankrupt Montana the same way President Obama has bankrupted America."
At the top of the ads, MacLaren was identified as the group's treasurer, which he was at the time of the mailings.
That's no longer the case, however, as MacLaren resigned in response to the negative tone of the mailers.
"I didn't agree with the negative ads they were putting out," he said. "I was appearing on them as the treasurer and everybody figured I was behind it, which I'm not."
According to MacLaren, he agreed to be the treasurer of the Montana Republican Legislative Campaign Committee two years ago as a formality, but when he saw his name running atop the current crop of targeted political mailings, he decided to resign from that position.
"They needed somebody to put on there and I said I'd be the treasurer. ... I didn't know it would
end up like this," he said. "So, I said, ‘Get another treasurer.'"
MacLaren explained that the mailers struck a tone he felt was inappropriate.
"I didn't approve of bringing a negative aspect to it," he said. "I believe campaigns should be run on the issues and the candidate's position on them."
MacLaren also apologized to Moran face-to-face.
"I told her that I didn't know anything about these and didn't have anything to do with them," he said.
"That's just the way I feel about it," MacLaren added. "I guess when you go to the federal level, you expect mudslinging and that kind of thing, but we don't need that here."
Moran said she appreciated MacLaren's gesture.
"I have to give Gary a lot of credit for coming up and telling me right away that he didn't agree
with these types of flyers," she said. "I think that shows a lot about his character."
As campaigns become more and more negative, Moran added, people will become less likely to get involved.
"If we don't make a stand on this, pretty soon we won't have anybody who's willing to serve because nobody wants to put themselves out there for dishonest attacks," she said.
MacLaren's actions, she added, represent one of the Bitterroot Valley's strengths.
"It goes to show you what kind a Bitterroot place we have. No matter what side of the aisle we're on, first and foremost, we're neighbors."