State House Republicans’ campaign arm funded hard-hitting TV ads against two Democratic candidates running for open House seats — former state Rep. Dawn Morrell of Puyallup and University Place City Councilman Eric Choiniere – as primary voters were making their decisions.
The group spent $20,000 against Morrell and nearly $25,000 against Choiniere.
Both cruised through the primaries with little or no Democratic opposition. Now Morrell faces Republican Shelly Schlumpf in the Puyallup area and Choiniere is up against Republican Steve O’Ban in a district encircling Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Using a bit of Democrats’ branding against them, the group creating the ads calls itself Working Families for Change.
It’s directed by a Woodinville political consultant, Brett Bader, and funded entirely by the Reagan Fund, a political committee run by the House Republican Organizational Committee. The Reagan Fund is one of the four “soft money” committees run by each of the political caucuses in the Legislature, and is used to raise money from interest groups — in this case, mostly business interests.
Kevin Carns of the House Republican campaign arm said his committee funded the ads but didn’t have a hand in scripting them or producing them. That’s done by Bader’s outfit, Madison Communications.
We’ll take a closer look at the claims in the ads in future posts, but briefly, the ad against Choiniere criticizes him for going through bankruptcy, which we mentioned in this overview of the race. The ad against Morrell tries to tie her to a local controversy over a proposed “halfway house” in Puyallup. It attacks her for voting in support of a law (sponsored by GOP Sen. Mike Carrell and supported by many Republicans, incidentally, though none in the House) authorizing state government to help pay rent for ex-inmates for up to three months after they’re freed.