Negative Campaigning in Charlottesville?

By: Marcus Washington
By: Marcus Washington

April 24, 2006

Charlottesville City Council elections are only a few days away, and some are saying that campaign ads are getting ugly. The ads airing on local radio stations are speaking about candidate Rob Schilling and his voting record.

This is after what he calls negative personal ads that are airing on local radio stations. The ads claim Schilling was against funding for schools and police. Here is part of a campaign endorsed by candidates Dave Norris and Julian Taliaferro:

Voice 1: "What's wrong?"
Voice 2: "Oh... I'm just confused about Republican Rob Schilling."
V1: "What's the problem?"
V2: "He says he's for education, but he always votes "no" on funding the schools. He says we shouldn't be spending so much money."
V1: "What's his alternative?"
V2: "He won't say... he says that's not his job."

Seeing any candidate at a radio station isn't unusual during an election, but today Charlottesville City Council candidate Rob Schilling isn't promoting his campaign, but defending his record.

While appearing on WINA Radio's 'Charlottesville Right Now,' Schilling claimed the ads are false, and are negative personal attacks.

"I think it's personal. Absolutely it's personal," said candidate Rob Schilling. "If someone calls me a liar that's personal. And I think that while the [negative campaigns] are laughable, I think [opponents are thinking] 'let's just throw all this stuff against the wall and hope some of it sticks.'"

"He's incumbent. He has four years of votes that he's taken, and what we're trying to do is to tell people about some of the votes, where [Taliaferro and I] differ," said City Council Candidate Dave Norris.

Many voters like David Lee say they're turned off by any negative campaign. Lee says he has not heard any the recent ads, but negative campaigning doesn't belong in politics.

"I don't know why anybody in this city needs to do negative stuff because we have so many [local issues] that need to be addressed," said Lee.

Norris says, he and Taliaferro are not "personally attacking" Schilling, just showing voters his past voting records that are documented.

Elections are scheduled for May 2, 2006.

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