Deceptive Advertising?

By: Lindsey Ward Email
By: Lindsey Ward Email

October 5, 2007

At first glance you might think an advertisement sent out with candidate Connie Brennan’s picture on it is from her campaign, but if you look closely it says paid for and authorized by friends of Watkins Abbitt, her opponent.

“If you also notice there is a liquor store which we don't have in Virginia,” said Lainey Edminston, Brennan’s Campaign Manager, describing the clip art on the ad.

Connie Brennan's campaign said the ad is a gross exaggeration of the truth and it looks like they mailed it.

“The only line from Watkins Abbitt is here on the paid for line,” said Edminston, pointing at the ad.

Abbitt, a 22-year-veteran in the House of Delegates, says anyone who can read will find his name on the mailer and he is following the campaign rules.

“If you look at a piece of mail that comes to you and before you open it you look at who it comes from and it's on the return address, it's right there in bold print,” said Delegate Abbitt, I-59th District.

However, Brennan says it's deceptive advertising. The mailer has her photo and what she says is a misleading voting record.

“He accused me of raising me of raising taxes 400 percent on small businesses and really basically causing businesses to loose all of their profits, the reality is we did raise taxes 400 percent, the tax went from 2 dollars to 10 dollars,” said Brennan, candidate for House of Delegates.

Abbitt says it's the truth and he stands by his campaign. If she has the right to call out his voting records he does too.

“She's an elected person and I am too and as we do our jobs we have a history and we have every right to point out each other's records,” Abbitt said.

This type of advertising isn't illegal and it's not the first time we've seen it here in Virginia. You may remember during the Kilgore/Kaine Governor's race in '05, a number of ads were sent through the mail from both candidates that appeared to come from the other candidate's campaign.

Both candidates are running for the house of delegate seat in the 59th district which includes Nelson county, Buckingham, parts of Albemarle and Fluvanna.

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