Ahead of the primary election in August, leaders of the Washington State Democratic Party and Washington State Republican Party pledged to run clean campaigns heading into the midterms.
At the center of the pledge, featured in the Q13 News series “Bridging the Divide,” was a promise to keep campaign ads focused on the issues.
In August, Republican Party Chairman Caleb Heimlich made a personal apology to a private citizen who was targeted in an attack ad against a democratic candidate. While Heimlich was not responsible for the ad itself, he said it crossed a line.
On Monday, pointing to the pledge made by Democratic Party Chair Tina Podlodowski to call such ads out on her own side, republicans pointed to a video posted on social media that appeared to show 8th Congressional District candidate Dino Rossi calling on women to fix their hair before he campaigns in their neighborhood.
“Fix your hair girls! Dino Rossi’s coming door-to-door,” Rossi, a Republican candidate for Congress, can be heard shouting at a campaign event.
The ad, paid for by the Washington State Democratic Party, calls the video Dino Rossi’s “message for women.”
The ad is misleading.
What the video would show if shown in context is Rossi telling the story of what one female voter posted on social media.
In a Facebook post on June 23, a woman named Lea Marie Wilson wrote on a community forum, “Hey Dino Rossi is out going door to door on Lincoln. Fix your hair ladies. This gentleman wants to shake your hand.”
Asked about editing the video to remove the context of Rossi’s comments, a spokeswoman for the Washington State Democratic Party told Q13 News in an email:
“It’s a slick copout for Republican Dino Rossi to claim he’s merely repeating a Facebook post. At the end of the day, Dino has repeatedly and gleefully told a story to campaign donors and Republican Party insiders that ends with him thrusting his finger into the air and loudly proclaiming that women want to make themselves better looking in case they get a chance to meet him."