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Dem House Candidate Dresses Her Field Director as Cop To Trick Voters

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If the Democrats are to retake the House, Jennifer Wexton is going to play a relatively significant role — at least, as much as one can in a body with 435 members.

Wexton is running against incumbent GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock, a relatively moderate Republican, in a seat that’s been held by the Republicans for 60 out of the last 66 years. She’s also been up by anywhere between 6 and 13 percentage points, depending on the poll.

However, she still seems rather unsure about her chances. How can I divine this, you may ask? By a statement from the candidate? Pundits saying that she’s concerned? No, not really.

I know because her campaign had her field director dress up as a cop for a campaign ad released back in June.

According to Roll Call, the spot featured putative constituents signing a poster with the words “Change is Coming” on it.

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The ad briefly features three cops signing a poster. Except, when other police officers saw it, they noticed something a bit off.

“I have never seen uniforms in Virginia like that … at collective trainings or otherwise,” Brian White, a former sheriff’s deputy in Virginia, said. “Looks like Party City uniforms.”

That’s because none of them were apparently police.

“Whether it’s as a prosecutor working with law enforcement or as a senator pushing for gun safety measures, Jennifer works closely with law enforcement to achieve greater public safety,” Ray Rieling, Jennifer Wexton’s campaign director, said in a statement.

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“We’ve seen campaigns get criticized for using police in uniform in ads, so we wanted to be respectful and avoid that issue.”

There’s a reason why: Local police departments don’t typically endorse candidates. There’s also the fact that having your field director — Matt Leslie, a man who’s held no position in law enforcement during his career — dress as a police officer isn’t usually good form.

While smaller campaigns use campaign workers as extras, they’re usually not dressed up as law enforcement officials, especially when law enforcement hasn’t endorsed Wexton.

“It’s beyond stupid. I have no idea why they’d do it for a 1-second clip,” Virginia-based Republican ad-maker Will Ritter told Roll Call. “I guess buying police costumes at Party City is easier than getting support from actual police.

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“It’s more than a mistake, it’s a lie, and shows how far Wexton is willing to go to appear to have support.”

The National Republican Congressional Committee asked for Wexton to take down the ad, noting that it was “extremely disrespectful” to police officers.

“It takes courage to put on that uniform, and not just anyone should,” a spokeswoman for the NRCC said.

Wexton’s campaign instead quietly changed the ad, which apparently hasn’t become a flashpoint in the race. It’s still up there in most of its glory, complete with sunny detergent-selling music bouncing along in the background. It may be a bit of a lie, of course. Most of these ads are.

They usually don’t lie about their campaign director being police officers, though. That’s a new low — and one that should tell voters in Virginia’s 10th District that they would be better off going with Rep. Comstock.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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