FALSE FLAG ATTACK?
Another South Carolina race has been impacted by an ostensibly “pro-gay” mail piece …. but is the victim of this political “hit” also its author?
A few months ago, we reported exclusively on a local Horry County race getting rainbow-smeared … this week it’s a much bigger stage, the highly contentious race for mayor of Charleston, S.C.
In both races, virtually identical mailings – ostensibly sent by pro-gay organizations – encourage voters to support a candidate who allegedly supports tax breaks for same sex couples. In the case of the Charleston mayoral race, that candidate is identified as openly gay businesswoman Ginny Deerin.
Well, “Deering.” The candidate’s name was (deliberately?) misspelled on the mail piece.
Oh, and of course there’s no such thing as the “Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Association” in South Carolina, nor is there any bill – at the local or state level – to provide gay couples with tax credits.
The mailer is a farce, in other words. Not to mention illegal. And most importantly – as its intended target noted – it is “an attempt to illicit a homophobic response.” Albeit a clumsy one.
More on that in a moment.
First, let’s take a look at the piece …
(Click to enlarge)
Ah, South Carolina …
Now, let’s consider the politics of this “hit.”
So far, it’s unclear if any voters have received the mailing. In fact we only know of its existence because Deerin’s campaign sent out a picture of the piece accompanied by a stern statement condemning it as an attempt “to play on outdated prejudice, (four) days before the election.”
Not directly pointing fingers, Deerin’s campaign made clear in going public with the mailing that its candidate “is running against well-resourced opponents who perhaps believe they stand to gain from last-ditch personal attacks.”
“This is the kind of divisive, offensive behavior that has no place in this election,” Deerin said in a statement. “When I pointed out my policy disagreement with my opponent’s vote against funding transportation infrastructure for our community, he called it a personal attack. I wonder what he calls this kind of bigotry based postcard sent by an anonymous group.”
Tough talk … but was it a little too tough?
Also, the fact Deerin’s name was misspelled certainly looks to us as though someone was trying to be a little bit “too cute” with the mailing – perhaps in an effort to provide distance between the piece and Deerin’s campaign.
(“Of course Deerin didn’t do it – she knows how to spell her own name”).
According to sources familiar with the results of recent voter surveys in this race, Deerin is languishing in third place in the polls. That means neither of her two top-tier opponents – fifth-term S.C. Rep. Leon Stavrinakis nor local businessman John Tecklenburg – has any reason to attack her, let alone do so in such a ham-fisted fashion.
“There’s no strategic value to anybody doing this to Ginny Deerin – except Ginny Deerin,” one observer told FITS.
Anyway, stay tuned for more as we do some additional digging on this mailing.
UPDATE: Tyler Jones, the communications director for Stavrinakis’ campaign, has just issued a statement responding to the mailer: “Leon is appalled by this trash. This flyer is clearly fraudulent and breaks state ethics laws. What the sender fails to realize is that modern technology can often trace where things like this comes from. The Stavrinakis campaign calls for an immediate investigation by the proper law enforcement agencies. We look forward to identifying the source.”