In a pathetically desperate attempt to resuscitate its prospects, the campaign of Republican Jinyoung Lee Englund has launched a fresh torrent of false attack ads against her Democratic opponent Manka Dhingra — just days after Englund agreed with Dhingra in a debate hosted by the League of Women Voters that the contest between the two of them needed less negativity.
The ads, which drew the attention of KCPQ’s Jon Humbert, are appearing on social media and across the web.
Not only are they laden with false claims and innuendos, they contain mechanical errors, as Humbert wryly noted in this tweet.
Englund’s negative offensive actually began before the debate, as is evidenced by the upload date of this attack video — part of the “Stop Manka” offensive. It went up on YouTube as an unlisted video on September 14th, four days prior to when the candidates appeared onstage together at the Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center at the invitation of the League.
During the debate, the candidates were memorably asked this question:
MODERATOR NATALIE BRAND: This is another audience question, which says: “So far, this race has been very negative, with hit ads against both candidates. Do you think it’s important to make a more positive and substantive campaign?” And we’ll start with Ms. Dhingra.
Here’s how they each responded.
DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE MANKA DHINGRA: Absolutely. I think it is crucial that campaigns do really talk about honesty and integrity. And there are a lot of special interests out there, but what’s coming out of my campaign [is positive]. I am being very clear with everyone that’s that’s affiliated with my campaign to make sure that we are running positive messages. Because it is about my message, what I stand for, my work background, and what I want to do for the people of the 45th District. I obviously cannot control the special interests, but everything coming out of my campaign is going to be about my work background, my experience, my qualifications, and what I will do to represent each and every one of you.
REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE JINYOUNG LEE ENGLUND: So I agree. You know, I think that every candidate and every campaign should really focus on what they intend to do for their district. And that’s why I’ve been very clear about my priorities. It’s to protect people in our district from new or more taxes that aren’t necessary, to work on real, immediate transportation solutions, and to ensure that we continue to prioritize education funding in our state.
You know, it was actually Ms. Dhingra’s supporters that went negative first, during the primary… they spent half a million dollars. And threw the first punch. And I thought that we, just being a new kind of candidate, you know, both being women and first time, that we could have a different campaign. And I was actually very shocked to see that happen, and quite disappointed in that.
You know, I think moving forward, you know, I would love to make sure that whatever pieces come out of our campaigns or supporters… that it does really focus on… on issues. And that we’re really very clear on, you know, what do we stand for, for our districts.
Shorter Jinyoung Englund: Do as I say, not as I do.
Considering that Englund has been involved in Republican politics for years as a party operative, I don’t buy her claim that she was “very shocked” to see negative ads appearing online, in the mail, or in another medium concerning her campaign back in the spring. Her own supporters have poured a small fortune into a shell PAC laughably called “Working Families”, which has been the vehicle for multiple waves of attack ads intended to tarnish Manka Dhingra’s reputation.
And now Jinyoung Englund’s campaign is running highly negative “Stop Manka” ads of their own. Attack ads that attempt to make voters feel uneasy about Manka by invoking what Englund and the Republican Party think are scary bogeymen (Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, former Seattle Mayor Ed Murray) or raising the specter of an income tax or safe consumption sites.
Attacks like these did not work in the Top Two election… in fact, considering the election results, which were disastrous for Englund, it’s reasonable to conclude the previous set of attacks backfired, and actually helped propel Dhingra to victory.
Republicans have had weeks to come up with a new strategy for the autumn to revive Englund’s prospects. Apparently, all they could think of to do was essentially to run the same play that didn’t work for them in the last round: going negative with poorly written, poorly designed ads that reek of desperation. How pathetic.
And how paradoxical. Remember, this is the same party whose candidates often like to say on the campaign trail that simply throwing more money at a problem won’t solve that problem. How many times have we heard that party talking point?
The Washington State Republican Party has no bigger problem right now than Englund’s flailing campaign. If she loses, the Republicans lose their Senate majority by the end of November. They certainly know they’re in a precarious position, but they can’t seem to think of any way to lift their candidate up.
So they’ve instructed Englund to join them in the gutter, throw as much mud at Manka Dhingra as possible, and hope that some of it starts sticking.
And that’s what Englund is doing, despite having said in a public debate that she agreed with Manka Dhingra that campaigns like hers should be run honestly and with integrity, and should focus on positive messages. Shameful.