House Call: Are dueling Loudoun race mailers accurate?
In the online world of opposition research, data can sometimes be misleading.
In our latest look at state House races, we examine two campaign fliers circulating around Loudoun County. One claims that state Del. David E. Poisson (D-Sterling) was late in paying his personal property taxes for four separate years between 1993 and 2001.
The mailers were circulated by Poisson's Republican opponent, Ashburn businessman Thomas "Tag" Greason. Virginia's Republican Party has made the race between Greason and Poisson a competitive one, pouring $147,000 into Greason's campaign. Poisson himself has received $107,000 from the state Democratic Party and $35,000 from the state House Democratic caucus. In a district that could has trended blue but could go red with a Robert F. McDonnell surge in the governor's race, every little bit helps.
But back to the mailer. Poisson, a Sterling lawyer in private practice, said he didn't move to Loudoun until 1995. And his 2001 late payment and penalty can be attributed to a mistake by his mortgage company, he said.
"This is all not true," Poisson said. "There may be an indication of something wrong but it's good to check with the source and they didn't. They knew they had their facts wrong and they went with it anyway."
Loudoun County Treasurer H. Roger Zurn did confirm that Poisson's mortgage company did remit payment of the delegate's 2001 late taxes and that Poisson was not listed as an owner of the property in the early 1990s.
Still, Greason's campaign said late is late, regardless of the situation with Poisson's mortgage company.
"Even David Poisson is not disputing the fact that he paid his property taxes late." Greason's campaign said in a statement.
The statement went on to take issue with a Poisson flier, one that suggested Greason was involved in the bankrupcy of a wireless company he worked for earlier this decade.
"The real issue here is the vile mailers that his allies are sending out attacking Tag," the statement said. "It seems that they are so desperate and so willing to do anything to win, they will send mailers exposing our children to the most vile language ever included in a political attack."
The flier Greason is referring to is one that reads, "Tag Greason's Business Went Bankrupt and Failed to Pay its Debts." It offers a few bullet points that claims that Greason's old company, Cable & Wireless, went bankrupt in 2003 and that Greason served as "vice president."
Both claims are true. But Greason served as vice president of sales and customer relations (hardly a partnership role) and he has publicly spoken of the firm's bankruptcy, referring to it on his LinkedIn profile.
As Greason's campaign manager, John Jackson, noted: "That's like you and I getting blamed for a bankruptcy at the companies where we worked. It's just not accurate."
October 29, 2009; 2:50 PM ET
Categories: Derek Kravitz , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2009
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