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Dirty Politics Should Not Be Rewarded

For months, an independent electioneering organization called West Virginia Family Values has been spending big money — around $2.5 million, according to its campaign finance reports — slinging mud at Republican candidates.

Everyone has, and should have, the right to speak out about elections. But Mountain State residents also are entitled to know when big-money special interests are lying to them.

WVFV has been running radio advertisements attacking some members of the Legislature who are running for re-election or for other offices. One of the spots includes dialogue phrased and delivered in a manner that could lead some listeners to believe the person being attacked in the ad was a character witness on behalf of a convicted sexual predator.

Among Republican lawmakers against whom the WVFV ran that radio spot is Delegate Ryan Weld, R-Brooke, who is running for a state Senate seat. Weld was so angered by the ad that he has threatened to take legal action if it remained on the air.

Another lawmaker victimized by the same ad, state Sen. Chris Walters, R-Putnam, made a similar pledge. WVFV has stopped using the spot, to the best of our knowledge.

Initially, WVFV used the spot against state Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson.

Carmichael indeed did testify in 2013, when he was asked to tell a court what he knew about a sex offender, Cecil Hinzman.

A variety of personal accusations have been made by some candidates in this year’s election. For the most part, however, the candidates, both Democrat and Republican, have stuck to the issues.

WVFV has not. It has spent an enormous amount of money attempting to tarnish the good names of some Republicans — through plainly dishonest attacks.

That is, in a word, wrong, and WVFV should not be rewarded for it on Election Day.

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