Degner Responds to Wilt Campaign Mailer

Brent Finnegan -- May 28th, 2010

On Thursday, many registered voters in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County received campaign literature in the mail from the Republican Party of Virginia on behalf of Tony Wilt’s campaign for 26th district delegate. The mailer slogan declares that Wilt “represents our values – not those of big city liberals.”

In addition to proclaiming that Wilt is “100% Pro-life,” and is endorsed by the NRA, the piece also makes several claims about Wilt’s Democratic opponent, Harrisonburg Mayor Kai Degner.

The Wilt-endorsed mailer states that Degner “refused to answer or return [an] NRA survey,” that he “supports amnesty” for “illegal aliens,” and that he “supported higher real estate tax bills for city homeowners.”

The campaign literature was “authorized by Wilt for Delegate,” and paid for by the Republican Party of Virginia (it’s marked with a Richmond return address).

Degner responded to the mailer Friday afternoon:

With the recent baseless attacks, our opponent is relying on the same worn out political rhetoric, instead of any solutions to the problems faced by everyday Valley residents. I have chosen to run a campaign that is focused on job creation, education and the everyday issues resident of the 26th district face. At a time when education funding has been slashed and unemployment is still at record levels, I am offering solutions, while my opponent offers more of the same.

According to the DNR story cited in the Wilt mailer, passage of the city resolution urging Congress to pass the DREAM Act was unanimous, meaning Republican Ted Byrd and independent Carolyn Frank also voted for it.

Another DNR article cited in the Wilt mailer explains that there was no increase in property taxes, but that the assessments went up “by an average 2.25 percent.”

The council left the real estate tax rate at 59 cents per $100. But even with no change in the rate, owners of properties that increased in value in the last assessment will pay more in taxes. As a result, city officials expect to collect an additional $504,000.

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61 Responses to “Degner Responds to Wilt Campaign Mailer”

  1. Loring Gibson says:

    I’m can’t say I’m surprise. Anyone with a brain has to get behind Kai on this. Why is it that whenever there is anyone representing progressive thought in this area, the opposition resorts to these kinds of tactics instead of offering solutions???

    • Loring Gibson says:

      Meant to say surprised. I just get so angry!

    • Bill Fawcett says:

      Does “progressive thought” include illegally posting campaign signs on V-DOT right-of-ways? Of this this some sort of quiet protest against the law?

      (Rt 11 north interchange)

  2. Holly says:

    Thanks for the top-notch reporting, Brent. You answered several questions I had!

  3. David Miller says:

    Has anyone contacted Ted Bryd for comment?

  4. David Miller says:–in-the-news—the-real-america

    To better understand right wing messaging I turn to John Stewart and his analysis of “Real Small Town Americans”

    • Renee says:

      Yeah I remember that one, David! Right. “Little pockets of real America” inside of… America.

      Just like Wilt represents “us” and not “big city liberals” (is Bloomberg running here?).

  5. Renee says:

    When the statements made by one candidate about another are just blatantly misleading, it pretty much devalues everything else they have to say. It means they’ve gotten away from honest debate and are focused on trashing their opponent even if that requires lying.

    I think local residents are smart enough to see through that.

  6. megan says:

    Smart enough. Yes

    Willing to… I’m not so sure.

  7. Ethernal Sunshine of the Spoteless Mind says:

    What would the world look like without politicians? I believe no one will miss them…

  8. Dave Briggman says:

    Well, I suppose if you wanted to have an effect the results of the election, we could offer a flyer with a description of the VFF support for both Lohr and Obenshain, along with this wording from Mark’s obscene legislation from the 2009 Session of the General Assembly, explaining how ANY WOMAN who miscarries outside the presence of her doctor would have had to do the following:

    “When a fetal death occurs without medical attendance upon the mother at or after the delivery or abortion, the mother or someone acting on her behalf shall, within 24 hours, report the fetal death, location of the remains, and identity of the mother to the local or state police or sheriff’s department of the city or county where the fetal death occurred. No one shall remove, destroy, or otherwise dispose of any remains without the express authorization of law-enforcement officials or the medical examiner. Any person violating the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

    And then tie the VFF to Wilt…and make sure EVERY SINGLE WOMAN entering every single polling location within the 26th District was handed the flyer before she entered the polling site.

    I mean, I would volunteer to take my precinct, but one person at a single polling location wouldn’t have much of an effect.

    • A Man of Action, I salute you!

      • David Miller says:

        Its really not a bad idea

        • Unfortunately, there was not enough time to have this questioned asked this morning, but if you’re looking to alien women voters of all political stripes to vote against Wilt, showing this legislation to them, along with the tying of Mark to Tony Wilt should definitely cause some damage.

          In fact, I’d be doing radio commercials and telephone calls to women voters telling them about the legislation, since the press never reported on it last year.

          I have just called Dean Welty of the Valley Family Forum to ask him if he and his organization knew about that legislation last year — and more importantly, whether they supported the legislation.

          You’re missing a good opportunity to use fact against your opposition.

  9. David Miller says:

    I still can’t believe he proposed that. Anyone know how Mr. Wilt would have voted on that one? I’d really like to hear

  10. David Miller says:

    btw, whats the rule for Republicans on “small government” and “keeping the government out of health care”? Do you have to be Republican Legislator pushing a overreaching government on women and minorities to ignore said rules or just case by case abandonment of principles?

  11. Never thought if it in those terms, before, but Mark was never very forthcoming as to whom he offer this piece of crap for…

    Once I blew it up on the radio, he withdrew it in a couple of days.

  12. According to the Impact Statement, the cost to the state would have been $28.77/day to house women who may have been jailed under this law. And it’s what the state pays to house any inmate. This is exclusive of local costs to house the inmates.

    There are inmates in Rockingham County jail for 12 months, who are $800 behind in child support. There have been inmates in our jail charged and sentenced under a statute which had a maximum sentence of 10 days, but the inmates were serving or had served 10 month sentences.

  13. I met that they had served 12-month sentences.

  14. Black Knight says:

    This propoganda appeals to certain people who constitute the “new right”. Poorly educated who are told what to do and follow mindlessly like sheep.

  15. Dave Scott says:

    If Mr. Wilt is “100% pro-life,” does that mean he opposes the death penalty, and will work as tirelessly to stop gov’t-supported and tax-payer funded executions in Virginia?

  16. David Miller says:

    No. That assumption would imply that Wilt means what he says instead of just riling up Republicans with baseless attack ads and claims about his own virtues. After reading the mailer I’m left with the impression that if he’s willing to lie/misrepresent about Kai, he’s willing to lie/misrepresent about himself.

  17. Emmy says:

    Some very nice young men came by today to convince me to vote for Kai. They were happy to hear that I didn’t need convincing.

    • republitarian says:

      Shocking!!!! Emmy voting for a liberal…….

      • Emmy says:

        Your point? I was just stating that people were out for Kai today.

        Equally shocking…Myron voting for a conservative.

  18. And I had a phone solicitor for Kai call me, as well, today…

  19. So Mr. Wilt lacks social class as well…mixing campaign messages in a Memorial Day greeting…pitiful…of course, Wilt didn’t appeared to have served in the military, so it doesn’t surprise me.

    Dear Friends,

    This Memorial Day weekend, we pause to remember in our thoughts and prayers all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country. I know many of us have family members and friends who have made that sacrifice, and this weekend is set aside for us to honor their memories. As we enjoy the company of our families and friends, let us all be sure to say a special prayer, not only for the memories of those who have fallen, but also for the safe return of those brave men and women who are currently protecting our freedoms by serving our country in uniform.

    As for the campaign, I’m happy to report that, thanks to all of your efforts to get our yard signs out to your friends and neighbors, we’ve had to order more signs. They will be available at the beginning of the week, and, as always, we will need your help to fulfill all of the requests we’re still getting every day. Please follow this link to volunteer to put up signs in your precinct, or in the precinct closest to you if you do not live in the 26th District.

    As always, I’m deeply grateful for all of your help and support. Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, and let’s keep working together for a great victory on June 15th.


    Tony Wilt

  20. republitarian says:

    Dave, there was nothing wrong with this e-mail. You’re not going to agree with tony on everything, but it looks like you’re looking for every reason not to agree with him on anything. Relax, Tony will be the first to tell you that he’s not perfect, and that he’s new at this.

    Show Tony a little grace, you probably would vote with him 95% of the time.

  21. Myron,

    There’s a couple of holidays you don’t, or shouldn’t, co-mingle with business…both Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day are part of that group.

    Just my opinion.

  22. Brooke says:

    Is someone going door to door on Memorial Day?

    • Brooke says:

      And yes, if someone was going door to door pretending to talk about Memorial Day and then using it to segue way into campaign talk I would find it distasteful, no matter who was doing it.

  23. Oh my, I have Emmy AND Brooke agreeing with me at the same time…I better check my pulse, as something must be wrong.

    Memorial Day is tomorrow, Myron, and I didn’t mind getting a call from Kai’s campaign today, because the caller didn’t mention Memorial Day at all.

    • republitarian says:

      Yes, I would check my pulse, Briggman.

      • David Miller says:

        I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that the point was that Wilt used Memorial Day and Veterans to draw the attention of his audience then move into his campaign material after paying lip service to the holiday. I don’t personally have any problem with this because most politicians tend to use Veterans issues as political capital, Republicans have practically perfected the art. This is nothing new, I’m just glad that we have an alternative to the same ol’ politics.

  24. Emmy says:

    I got my second Kai mailer today and I’m not a fan of this one. I wish ALL politicians would realize that if you’re going to spend money on these things and junk up my mailbox, then use the space on the piece to tell me why I should vote for you and not what the other party is doing wrong!!! I’m already aware of that. I want to know why you are qualified! You can say things in a way that indicate how you are different from the other candidate or party without being negative.

    Oh and anything that comes in my mail with Sarah Palin’s face on it goes in the trash without being looked at so ordinarily that would have been an epic fail. I did scan over it in the interest of all the discussions going on about the mailings and noticed it was from the DPVA.

    • Deb SF says:

      I feel the same way about Sarah, Emmy, but I have to say I thought this mailer was really funny. I grab the mail out of the box, and on the top was this huge picture of Sarah, big wink, and I just started to laugh. Unlike the Wilt mailer from last week which I thought mean spirited and was dishonest in spots, this one made the expected partisan points in a way that wasn’t nasty. To me, it didn’t feel so much snarky as just Tina-Fey-style funny. I mean, after including the stuff about McDonnell and education funding, Cuccinelli and the UVA document search/anti-gay discrimination-push, they have that great TF line from SNL, which Palin never actually said — Sarah Palin – who can see Russia from her house. For me, it was just lol and more than a little gutsy. And more importantly – I read the whole thing.

      • Emmy says:

        But the style of it is why I didn’t read it. Sure, it is eye-catching, but if I were an undecided what did it tell me about Kai? That he isn’t one of those other people? Not really, in fact, it made him seem more like them. It told me nothing about what Kai would do. No, it wasn’t really mean spirited, but it wasn’t helpful. Plus, I know what full color mailers like that cost, and in my opinion, they should actually say something.

        • Deb SF says:

          Different strokes, I guess ;-0

        • Renee says:

          I agree with you Emmy – it wasn’t a negative mailer, but there wasn’t much helpful info that could convince someone to vote, either. And it didn’t have a local-enough feel for this very-local election. But, I don’t think it did any harm, either.

    • republitarian says:

      Sarah Palin wasn’t on mine. I had some lady at a drive thru….ordering up government.

  25. Brooke says:

    Yeah, I didn’t like Kai’s most recent mailer. I thought it was less about issues, and more about snark. If we’re supposed to be making this about the issues, and who is best suited, and not primarily about party affiliation, then why send out a mailer that seems to focus on party affiliation and in a really negative way. Not impressed. He needs to go back to the way he was doing things before.

  26. Somehow I got on a DPVA mailing list…must be a list of likely voters.

  27. Brooke says:

    And so comes another mailer directed specifically at Democratic voters and focusing on Democrats vs. Republicans and the importance of a Democratic controlled state. The irony is that’s the same sort of mentality that the last mailer accused *Republicans* of doing? I thought this wasn’t going to be about party politics?

    I fear this sort of thing is going to alienate independent voters that Kai needs to come out in support of him. I know it’s making me waver a bit.

    Don’t tell me it’s important for one party to beat another. Tell me about you as a candidate and why I should vote for you. The answers I’m looking for don’t involve the Capital “D” next to your name.

  28. Mel says:

    Brooke, You are absolutely right. I am a Demo. and will prob. vote Kai. My husband who is a Repub. was not impressed by Tony Wilt. He wanted to learn more about Kai (and Carolyn) – then the mailer arrived. Totally turned him off. What does Sarah Palin have to do with Harrisonburg? Now he will not vote for Kai.

  29. Speak Truth says:

    what in the mailer was a lie?

    • Renee says:

      For example, it said Kai supported higher real estate taxes when (if you read the article, you’ll see) “there was no increase in property taxes, but that the assessments went up ‘by an average 2.25 percent.'” So people’s taxes went up because the value of their homes went up, and it’s very misleading to say Kai supported an increase “real estate tax bills” when in fact city council voted to keep the tax rates the same.

  30. Renee says:

    Just got a new mailer from Kai/DPVA today. It’s about funding for local schools, and I think it’s much better than the Palin one sent earlier!

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