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In Action

The Ground War Begins
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Press Release

The Ground War Begins

With less than one week to go before one of the most important and yet least cared about elections in modern history, the massive “Get Out the Vote” (GOTV) begins in earnest. The politicians and their campaign strategists have basically ended the phase of the campaign where they attempt to convince undecided voters to join their side. Instead, this largely unseen final stage of a campaign focuses on turning out the vote of your identified supporters.

10/29/2002
CSE Mobilizes Voters in New Hampshire
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Press Release

CSE Mobilizes Voters in New Hampshire

CSE’s 2,860 members in New Hampshire are combining thousands of volunteer hours with an expensive, integrated campaign to get the truth out about Senate candidates John Sununu and Jeanne Shaheen. New Hampshire voters are receiving two CSE direct mail brochures that highlight their divergent views on taxes, Social Security, and energy policy. CSE is also running a 30-second radio ad, “Jeanne Shaheen is a Taxing Machine,” across the Granite State to remind voters of Governor Shaheen’s profligate tax-and-spending policies while in office.

10/29/2002
Erv Hoglund Receives Washington CSE’s “2002 Friend of the Taxpayer Award”
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Press Release

Erv Hoglund Receives Washington CSE’s “2002 Friend of the Taxpayer Award”

Erv Hoglund, candidate for the Washington State House of Representatives and CSE activist, received the Washington Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) “2002 Friend of the Taxpayer Award” last night during an event in Marysville. Northwest CSE Director, Russ Walker, had the following comments:

10/29/2002
CSE Mobilizes Voters Across North Carolina
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Press Release

CSE Mobilizes Voters Across North Carolina

The election debate in North Carolina has turned to Social Security reform and Taxes, and liberal tax-and-spenders are distorting the truth about Elizabeth Dole and other candidates. That’s why Citizens for a Sound Economy is mobilizing to educate North Carolina voters on these key issues.

10/29/2002
A Hit Piece Boomerangs
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A Hit Piece Boomerangs

Summary: Republican Keith Parker should strongly disavow and denounce a grotesque attack on Democrat Jeff Barker Two things we know about negative campaigning: 1. People despise it. 2. Sometimes it works. Amid the political mailers flying through the mail right now at a furious pace comes one that goes beyond the rhetorical excess of the season. It's not just annoying or misleading. It's disgusting. The attack piece is aimed at Democrat Jeff Barker, a retired police lieutenant who is running for state representative of Oregon House District 28, which covers parts of Beaverton and Aloha. The attack piece, sent out by a Keizer-based group calling itself Citizens for PERS Reform, an affiliate of Citizens for a Sound Economy, shows a solemn-looking little girl, a school bus and an older man. "Should convicted sex offenders be paid money while in prison?" it says. Inside it shows multiple photos of Barker. It alleges that, as "a director" of the Portland pension fund, Barker "paid retirement benefits to a convicted sex offender serving an 18-year prison sentence. It's shocking but true . . . Barker's judgement (sic) was flawed, misguided and downright horrific." If anything is "downright horrific," it's this smear on Barker. It's true that, for 12 years, Barker served as one of 11 trustees on the Portland Fire and Police Disability and Retirement Fund. That's nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it would give him special expertise if he is elected to the Legislature. It's also true that a former Portland police officer was awarded disability benefits and later convicted of sex offenses. He has continued to receive benefits because the pension board has had to hold its nose and continue paying him. Members were advised that they had no authority under the law to cut them off, once they were awarded. Barker, however, had nothing to do with that quandary. In fact, Barker helped to champion a change the Portland city charter to make it impossible for such a thing ever to happen again. Barker's opponent, Republican Keith Parker, says he had nothing to do with this mailer, and neither did anyone in his campaign organization. Parker also says this flier may hurt him more than it helps him, and he's right. One other thing we know about low-blow campaigning is that it hurts the democratic process. Some voters are so turned off that they respond by not voting at all. "My view is that it's unfortunate these third parties are sending things out," Parker said Monday. "I had not seen it, I had not authorized it. I don't know anyone from that group (Citizens for PERS Reform)." Parker seems to be suggesting that this flier is just one of many run-of-the-mill political distortions. We disagree. To accuse a police officer of authorizing payments to an imprisoned sex offender is to aim a nozzle of mud squarely at the officer's integrity. As it happens, we believe both Parker and Barker are highly qualified and would do a good job of representing the voters in House District 28. In what was admittedly a close call, we previously endorsed Parker. Parker should go further than he has done so far in distancing himself from this attack, however. He should condemn, in no uncertain terms, this vicious smear on his opponent.

10/29/2002
In Close Race for State Senate, Money Talks--With Great Civility
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In Close Race for State Senate, Money Talks--With Great Civility

BY Jim Tankersley

Summary: Although Democrat Barbara Ross and Republican Frank Morse have raised $497,934, they have eschewed attack ads For nearly five months after the primaries, voters here watched the political equivalent of a baseball no-hitter: a $500,000 state Senate race without a single attack ad. That race is one of a half-dozen that could swing legislative control this election, and it pits Barbara Ross, a Democrat who served three terms in the Oregon House, against Frank Morse, a Republican businessman making his first political bid. They are vying for an open seat in District 8, which includes Corvallis and Albany. Each of the six high-stakes races has attracted hundreds of thousands of dollars, and all but the Ross-Morse matchup got ugly early. Now, six days before ballots are due, outside groups have tossed a stream of hit ads into the Morse-Ross campaign. Like a single in the ninth inning, they've broken up what was arguably Oregon's last clean, close Senate race. While both candidates have so far stuck to their own virtues, the change illustrates how difficult it has become to keep negative advertising out of campaigns. "I'd like to think campaigns could be run more on content than on attacking your opponent," Morse said. "I think the public gets sick of it." For Ross, it comes down to conviction. "Frank is an honorable man, and I don't feel the need to attack him," she said. If negative ads often are the dominant mode, voters shouldn't be surprised. "Negative information tends to be the most powerful information," Chuck Adams, a Republican consultant, said. "I can't remember a (tight) race that went this long without more fireworks." Portland television stations, which broadcast on Albany cable, have aired attack ads from metro-area Senate candidates for weeks. For example, viewers have seen Rep. Charlie Ringo, a Beaverton Democrat, accuse opponent Rep. Bill Witt of blocking a bill to ban guns on school buses -- and Witt, a Cedar Mill Republican, accuse Ringo of ineffectiveness for only passing one bill in the House. Closer to home, however, the rhetoric had been muted. Ross and Morse have combined to raise $497,934, and bought lots of issue-oriented ads with the cash. Morse is a self-described fiscal conservative and social moderate from Albany who built his fortune as president of Morse Bros. Inc., an aggregate company. He touts a "business model" for the state budget, controlling costs and prioritizing spending. Both Democrats and Republicans tried to recruit him to run for Senate. Ross, a Corvallis resident who was term-limited out of the House after the 1999 session, has been a Benton County commissioner and a school board member. She's pushing her record as an advocate for senior citizens, schools and the environment, along with her experience handling government budgets. Their civility -- which analysts attribute partly to personalities and partly to political strategizing -- lasted until last week, when a pair of groups supporting Morse questioned Ross' record on crime and the Pledge of Allegiance in mailings. Ross' campaign manager said the mailings are evidence of negative campaigning by Morse, though Morse didn't pay for them. Morse said he can't control outside groups' ads, and he accused Democrats of using a negative tool of their own -- "push-polls" -- in their campaign. Negativity has become the norm in Oregon politics when races are tight. Analysts say attack ads get voters' attention and help candidates distinguish themselves. Adams, the Republican consultant, said first-time candidates such as Morse often shun negative ads -- at least until their opponents attack. So far, Ross hasn't hit Morse. Analysts say it's practical: It's tough to attack Morse on a legislative record he doesn't have. With the race looking close last week, both candidates worried third parties could break the calm. Midweek, voters in the district received letters from Crime Victims United, a Lake Oswego-based group that supports Morse. The letter mentions the murder of two Oregon City teenage girls this year and the sniper killings in Washington, D.C. Then it criticizes Ross for votes on criminal justice issues while in the House. Later in the week, a mailer from Keizer-based Citizens for a Sound Economy said Ross "wants to stop the traditional practice of children standing and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance." It cites a 1997 quote from Ross, then a school board member and state representative, saying students should know the Pledge, but that she opposed requiring them to say it regularly.

10/29/2002
Elizabeth Dole Saves Social Security
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Press Release

Elizabeth Dole Saves Social Security

North Carolina CSE has recently started running a radio ad on Social Security. Click here to listen to the ad. The text of the ad is below: Man (knocking on door): "Hi, I'm with North Carolina Citizens for a Sound Economy and I've got some election information for you." Elderly woman: "There are som many ads about Social Security. I can't keep it all straight." Man: We've done the research on where the candidates stand." Elderly woman: "Please tell me the truth."

10/28/2002
Jeanne Shaheen is a Taxing Machine
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Press Release

Jeanne Shaheen is a Taxing Machine

CSE is spending tens of thousands of dollars to air radio ads in the Granite State to let voters know where Governor Jeanne Shaheen stands on taxes. The radio ads complement CSE's voter education activities, which include distributing 3,000 yard signs across the state, placing . Jeanne Shaheen is a Tax Machine for supporting the creation of new taxes in New Hampshire, include support at different times for: The creation of a state sales tax

10/28/2002
Saying No to Tax Hikes in Oklahoma Elections
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Press Release

Saying No to Tax Hikes in Oklahoma Elections

The election debate in Oklahoma has turned to taxes. That’s in large part because of the work of Oklahoma CSE volunteer activists, who have asked all state candidates to sign a pledge promising not to raise taxes during the next legislative session. To date, 36 OK state House and Senate candidates (26 Republicans, 5 Democrats, and 4 Independents) have signed the promise to keep taxes at their current level.

10/28/2002
Vote 2002
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Vote 2002

BY Laura Gunderson, Richard Colby

If you listen to Charlie Ringo's campaign, his Republican opponent Bill Witt is a mean-spirited extremist trying to distract voters from an ultra-conservative past with an inaccurate list of bills he's passed in two sessions as a legislator. From Bill Witt's camp, you hear that Ringo is an ineffective and partisan Democrat who has sued schools and hospitals and now wants to increase taxes. The Senate District 17 candidates agree on one thing: The other is lying. In the dwindling days of the election, candidates across Washington County complain about what their opponents -- and political groups not directly tied to the candidates' campaigns -- are claiming in millions of dollars worth of TV ads, mailers and nightly phone calls. Many voters feel the same way, wondering what to think as they work their way through ballots due Nov. 5. "Candidates end up focusing on what the other guy is doing, and how different they are from that other person," said Jim Ellison, a 63-year-old retiree who lives in Bethany. "I would rather a guy tell me exactly what he stands for and why. But you don't get that today. When you ask, 'Why should I vote for you?' it's 'Because that other guy's a jerk.' " Political experts say campaign tones seem no more negative than usual, but the mass of mailings and TV ads may be on the rise as candidates' coffers grow. Voters grumble about being hit with ads over the airwaves or through their mailboxes created by political groups they don't recognize or that don't list who paid for the ads. Recent mailings with "Portland P.O. Box 1754" as its only identifier question the political stances of John Scruggs, the Republican candidate in House District 34, and the attendance record of Keith Parker, the Republican candidate in House District 28, at meetings held by civic groups of which he was a member. Future PAC, a group supporting Democrats, says the Scruggs and Parker slams are theirs. Melissa Chernaik, the group's campaign director, said a printing error caused the group's name to be left off the mailers' return address. "A court decision nixed the requirement to list 'paid for and authorized by' on mailings, so we just use our name on the return address," Chernaik said, adding that her group is so well-known, further description isn't necessary. "That's sort of common practice." She says fliers mailed since her office realized the printing mistake about two weeks ago include the group's name. Scruggs' campaign against Democrat Brad Avakian and Libertarian Kevin Schaumleffle also draws criticism from his opponents' supporters, especially for one recent flier. "Brad Avakian Sues School Districts and Fire Departments," the mailer says. It suggests Avakian's lawsuits cost cash-starved agencies money to fend off or settle. The mailer also says Schaumleffle was "Convicted of two felonies." Avakian, a civil rights lawyer, acknowledges that he has filed "fewer than 10" lawsuits against districts and agencies on behalf of employees who claimed their employers treated them unfairly. The ad is similar to one used by the Republican's Leadership Fund against Ringo, also a lawyer. Schaumleffle, whose Libertarian tax-reduction stance could siphon votes from Scruggs, acknowledges he spent 90 days in jail 10 years ago for taking his two young children after his ex-wife was granted sole custody of them. Acknowledging he was wrong, Schaumleffle says he was warned by Republican campaigners this year that the issue would be brought up if he didn't get out of the race. Scruggs, meanwhile, chafes at an Avakian mailing claiming the Republican flip-flopped on his no-new-taxes pledge by supporting a referendum to increase the state cigarette tax. Such tactics don't sit well with some voters. "People should be upfront, tell me who they are and why they represent a particular candidate or cause," said Jeanette Broemeling, a Forest Grove resident. Broemeling, 57, said she was confused by a call from someone based in Louisville, Ky., claiming the best representative for seniors in House District 29 is Chuck Riley, the Democratic candidate running against Republican Mary Gallegos. When Broemeling asked who the group was and with whom it was affiliated, she said, the caller was unclear. James Davis of the Oregon State Council of Senior Citizens, a 33-year-old group representing retired union members' interests, says the political arm of his group approved the text of the call. He says the American Federation of Teachers, a teachers union, paid for the ad and likely used the service of an out-of-state call center. Citizens for PERS Reform, an offshoot of the national group Citizens for a Sound Economy, mailed fliers last week claiming Jeff Barker, the Democrat running against Parker in House District 28, sent $500,000 from a pension fund to a sex offender in prison. The ad refers to a former Portland police officer who received disability payments in prison after he was fired and convicted of sex abuse. Barker, a retired Portland police officer, confirms that he served on that board, but not until 1990 -- six years after the officer was granted disability. "I'd expect Republicans to hit with, 'He's evil: He's pro-choice,' something factual," Barker said. "To say I gave money to a sex offender, that's an appalling lie." Parker says he had not approved or seen the flier. In the hotly contested race for Senate District 17 between Rep. Bill Witt, R-Cedar Mill, and Rep. Charlie Ringo, D-Beaverton, accusations are flying. One mailer created by Witt's campaign says Ringo "failed to pass any new legislation to improve Oregon." It says Witt sponsored and passed 25 laws. Witt says his count is based on the number of successful bills on which Ringo was a primary sponsor. Ringo's campaign tallies 16, counting bills on which he was either a chief or co-sponsor. Ringo says there is no distinction between the two; Witt disagrees. A Ringo TV commercial says Witt voted against a bill banning guns from school buses. During the 1999 legislative session, Witt voted against sending Senate Bill 59, which also would have forbidden firearms in courtrooms, mass transit buses and trains, to the House floor. He says he was reluctant to send the bill to a floor vote because the committee hadn't had a hearing on it. Ringo says Witt's vote helped kill the bill. Russ Dondero, a Pacific University political science professor, says voters can expect candidates and political groups to continue down the same road until Election Day. "They wouldn't do it if it didn't work," he said. "And the fact is that it does work."

10/28/2002

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