Stacey Lawson, candidate in the 2nd Congressional District, wins the award for being the target of the most blistering attacks in this election. First, she has been targeted by a relentless anonymous blogger who runs a web site titled “Who is Stacey Lawson?” which has featured regular questions about her background, voting record and visits with a guru in India. The site also focuses on Lawson’s role as board chairman of a Seattle- based women’s handbag dealer that failed to pay payroll taxes for three years.
There’s no hint as to who is running the web site because the activity has not been reported so far on any campaign disclosure forms. Operators of the web site can avoid such reporting by spending less than $1,000. I suppose that’s possible in this case, but there seems to be a good deal of time, effort and tweeting put into this web site. The people behind this should at least have the courage to stand up and take responsibility for their work. This is gutless.
Now, as Guy Kovner reported today, Lawson also has been the target of a negative mailer sent out by the Norman Solomon campaign. The mailer targets Lawson for not voting in the majority of major elections in the five years before 2008.
This must be the year of the Pinocchio theme because as with the mailer we wrote about recently targeting John Sawyer, candidate for the 1st Supervisorial District, this one draws comparisons between Lawson and the fictional character with the long nose. It also draws comparisons between the voting histories of former gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman and Lawson.
Solomon has defended the mailer as factual.
My guess is that polls must be showing that Lawson, despite all of these hits, still has a good chance of finishing in the top two in Tuesday’s election along with Assemblyman Jared Huffman, the presumptive front-runner. This would leave Solomon and Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams, another strong candidate, on the outside along with Dan Roberts, considered the leading Republican candidate. As Lawson noted in today’s story, “Only people in the lead get attacked . . .”
Or in the top two in this case. What’s also true is that negative campaigning, in some cases, does work – especially among undecided voters. And there appears to be many of those still left. Either way, the race is likely to come down to which campaign does the better job of getting their voters to turn in their ballots on Tuesday. In a district that stretches from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border, that won’t be easy.
- Paul Gullixson