Former U.S. Rep. Denny Smith is the man behind a negative campaign mailer that targeted Marion County Commissioner Janet Carlson.
“I have been watching what’s going on in county government, and I have become very concerned with the, not ineptness, but the socialist approach to what used to be a very well managed county government,” Smith said. “I know she says says none of this is true; it’s all true.”
The mailer accused Carlson of participating in secret county meetings, said she promoted Obamacare and used taxpayer dollars to grow county government.
Carlson, a Salem Republican, is facing a primary challenge from Kim Brady, a SAIF claims adjuster from Salem. While the mailer makes no reference to Brady and stated it had no campaign connections, it reiterated several of Brady’s talking points.
Nowhere on the mailer did it say who sent it, but online records from the Secretary of State’s Office show that Smith contributed $4,862.58 to the Brady campaign for literature, brochures, printing and postage April 11.
“It’s not a surprise,” Carlson said. “I figured it was part of her campaign. The talking points were the same.”
Brady told the Statesman Journal she knew Smith was creating a mailer about Carlson but not what it would say. That’s why she reported it as an in-kind donation rather than Smith reporting it as an independent expenditure. Oregon law states that a candidate’s knowledge of campaign activity makes it an in-kind donation.
“I didn’t know the specifics,” Brady said.”I didn’t have anything to do with the mailing.”
Carlson told the Statesman Journal she thinks that’s splitting hairs.
“The fact that it’s an in-kind contribution to her campaign means that the piece is connected to her campaign, whether or not she says she knew about the content,” Carlson said. “If it was not connected to her campaign, it would have been reported as an independent expenditure.”
astaver@StatesmanJournal.com, (503) 399-6610 or on Twitter @AnnaStaver