Pr. William Delegate Lashes Out Over Opponent's Mailer
You know Election Day is approaching when things get this ugly. Late last week, Republican House of Delegates candidate Rich Anderson sent out a mailer to voters that dropped a bombshell about his opponent, Del. Paul Nichols (D-Prince William). Nichols, it said, had been arrested in North Carolina in 2006 for assaulting a police officer, and it implied that Nichols may have been intoxicated at the time.
Problem is, the mailer failed to note that a judge dropped the charges against Nichols, who has said it was the police officer who got aggressive with him when he came to the aid of a friend who had been pulled over. The mailer, which called Nichols "A Different Kind of 'Slugger,'" also included excerpts of a police report that displayed Nichols's Social Security number. In addition, a judge in September of this year granted Nichols's request that the documents be expunged.
Anderson's campaign has defended the mailer, saying voters deserved to know that the arrest occurred. But on a campaign stop in Occoquan yesterday, Nichols accused his opponent of overstepping the bounds of acceptable behavior and said he was contemplating legal action against the Republican.
"I was attacked physically by a police officer. I was wrongfully charged. The case was dismissed, and now I'm being attacked and wrongfully accused in my county where I have lived for 31 years," he told reporters. "And on top of all this, his recklessness and irresponsibility of sending a mailer out with all my personal data, he might as well have pulled down my pants."
Anderson's campaign manager, Reece Collins, was unrepentant today. He said the campaign properly obtained what had previously been a public record, by sending someone out to Dare County to obtain it. And he said it wasn't the campaign's fault that the documents happened to include Nichols's home number, age, weight, home phone number, Social Security number (listed in the wrong box) and other information.
"If he didn't want his information released, he probably shouldn't have assaulted a police officer," said Collins, adding that the campaign has consulted a lawyer and it is on solid legal ground.
The story was first reported by the News and Messenger, which has more detail on the incident.
October 13, 2009; 4:30 PM ET
Categories: Campaign Ads , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2009 , Sandhya Somashekhar
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