'Ugly' Mailer Stirs Controversy About Negative Political Ad Trend
Perlmutter Criticizes Mailer Designed As Sex Offender Notification
5:03 AM, Oct 31, 2006
In Congressional District 7, former state senator Ed Perlmutter is strongly criticizing Republicans over a piece of direct mail that was designed to look like a sex-offender notification.The brochure accuses Perlmutter of being soft on crime.The mailing was paid for by the state Republican Party, not by Perlmutter's opponent, Rick O'Donnell. O'Donnell said he had no control over the brochure.Perlmutter said the mailing is a new low for negative political ads and he called it ugly, desperate and the worst kind of politics at a news conference on Tuesday."There's been nothing like this coming out of our campaign or the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee," said Perlmutter. "This thing is bad."The brochure criticizes some of Perlmutter's past votes on crime resembling a notification homeowners would receive to inform them if a convicted sex offender had moved into their neighborhood."This is an abominable situation. This is outrageous," said former Adams County Sheriff Bill Shearer. "Our police agencies and our sheriff's offices have enough to do without getting calls from terrified neighbors after receiving trash like this in the mail."At Tuesday's news conference several former Republican senators backed up Perlmutter saying he once voted against a notification bill at the request of a sponsor."This was intended to look official. It was intended to scare people and it is a very sleazy kind of thing to do," said Dottie Wham, House Bill 97 sponsor.Political consultant Katy Atkinson said the ad isn't that unusual."You have to get people's attention. The airwaves are crowded. Mailboxes are crowded," said Atkinson. "So you have to do something to have your information stand out, so that's often why fear is employed."A spokesman for the Colorado Republican Party said the mailer was intended to be scary because this is a scary issue. He said any time a bill came up in the state Senate that would make people safer, Perlmutter voted no.Perlmutter and his campaign strongly dispute that claim.O'Donnell said he has been the recipient of similar ads himself from outside groups in the past and maintains he had no control of the mailer. Atkinson said if O'Donnell had had control of the mailer, the ad would not have gone out.