Sleazy Politics In Chesterfield County

Two nights ago in a debate in Chesterfield County, Don Sowder was asked specifically to comment on negative campaigning. Any person who attended would have heard his seemingly sincere and plaintive words – how much he just hated, just hated, just hated negative campaigning. He is the incumbent supervisor from Midlothian District and one of the supervisors on the county board of five – all Republicans. There has been some sniping back and forth, but rather fact based, and for some time the local papers and blogs have examined the issues. Both his challenger, Dan Gecker, an independent, and Sowder have insinuated that developers are too close to the other. It has been politics as usual but up to now on a rather civilized and respectful basis.

Until today. Today, just one business day before the election, Midlothian residents find in their mail a brash, completely new, and hugely controversial accusation that implies Dan Gecker is in bed with some developer who is a federal felon who plead guilty to bribing a city counselor.

This slick mailing was certainly in the works long before last Thursday’s debate – but it was not mentioned in Sowder’s opening nor closing remarks nor addressed in any of the 15 questions posed to each by the panel or by the several questions posed by the audience. Don Sowder was feigning repulsion of negative attacks while apparently quite aware of this coming, so cleverly timed, bombshell. It is just plain and simple sleazy politics.

Is the county electorate so disrespected and so contemptuously held as to have not been informed by Sowder weeks ago if this were a real issue?

If this alleged connection was so important to the substance of the race, then why has Sowder waited until the last possible minute to spring it? Is this the character and integrity of the politicians we want in public office?

I don’t know what Dan Gecker’s explanation or response is – I only hope he has the opportunity to make it before the polls open on Tuesday.

Comments

perry demay said…
Bill,

They wait until the last minute so their opponent cannot respond to the false allegations. Unfortunately, it is a very effective way to win the race. This has been the tactic of the Republican Party in Chesterfield. They use fear to provoke people to vote for them. Fear of change, fear of things that are not real. The other card they play is morality, they claim that anyone opposing them are not moral and are part of an evil that must be stopped at all cost. I am glad that I woke up from this crap and now I vote for the person that I feel represents the best interest of the people.

Sincerely,

Perry DeMay
Candidate for Sheriff
Bob Olsen said…
I believe we met before the meeting. The facts are this: the Republicans indignation with Salomonsky family money is selective. They have no problem when Louis, not Anita gives money to Tom Davis,Republican congressman in NOVA,that was in 2004. Yet scream "Taint", and what might happen, when the receiver is a Non Republican
Honest Voter said…
I’ve had a brief discussion about this with Mr. Olsen on his blog, and credit him for linking to this post. I don’t condone the flyer, but is it at all possible that the Republican Party of Virginia sent this out when Mr. Sowder refused to? If I was Mr. Sowder and this was brought to my attention, and because no money had been given to Mr. Geckers campaign, I wouldn’t use it. Would the state party go ahead with it anyway? It is my most sincere hope that the greater mass of people will at some point, demand clean campaigns.
J. Scott said…
I have to admit that I have not been bombarded with Sowder mailers, but this One- thats right the only one I received this campaign cycle which is striking- wasa bit much. I have however received at last count 21 mailers from the Friends of Gecker and twice that from Republican Manoli Loupassi in his bid for the 68th.
I have commented on many of Gecker mailings which he says are more about "policy" than "personal" attacks, but none the less the implications of what is being portrayed in the mailers is shing to say the least.
I had a inlcination not to support either of these two in large part because they had a duty and obligation to the Midlothian District to do the peoples business in consort this last year and chose to put politics above the interest of the residents. The role of the Supervisor and his Planning Commissioner should be one that works togther to get the ebst possible results and minimize the potential impacts on constituents during these growing times. It seems to me they failed in this respect.
A question that I have not seen addressed by the media or blogs for that matter is whether Mr. Gecker shift away from the Democrats was really a shift at all. If you visit the local DP website I believe they are endorsing him as well. I wished I had sought an answer to that question at the debate as I noticed quite a few folks around at the forum. This of course does not mean to make any implication other than I would have liked to hear just why he felt that the DP of Chesterfield was no longer aligned with his core beliefs of philosophical approach to the issues. This should have been where any right minded campaign would have gone and not the direction of the mailer regarding developers.
I would prefer a blackout period of 48 hours in terms of mailer but it will never happen. The Party system wants to be able to play this game on voters and until we step up and send some hard messages reagrding our disapproval they will continue to do so.
I tend to agree however with a gentleman in line at Starbucks this morning when he said someone who spends 65K more or less on mailers do get a job a part time job that pays 17K is either independently wealthy or just plain crazy.
J.Scott said…
Bill:
I forgot to get back with you about how I was feeling the day after the election. Remember how you asked that about the Presidential primary folks?

In terms of Chesterfield?

I am certainly happy with the way in which Midlothian turned out. Nothing against Mr. Sowder at all, just our focus needs to be both focused and transparent. The School Board I was a little more easier with in the fact that it has always upset me about the way in which our schools get politicized so its good to have people who have invested time and energy working amongst the community as much as they have working to get elected.
Sheriff, not happy at all. Its not a good feeling to be in the 30% minority but somtimes you have to draw a line in the sand.
I was impressed with th grassroots and turnout in Matoaca over the primaries and how Ms. Durfee was able to capture the momment. No surprise with Warren but Miller's defeat to me was astonishing. I did not really cover that area of the county because I felt he was so entrenched and would win support again. I really got that wrong. The Bermuda race frankly I would have been happy with eiher if I lived in that district. I had thought that Jaeckle would win but I think Ree Hart campaigned well enough to make it a race. I do not think we have heard the last from Hart should this Board stumble.

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