A joint press release today from Colorado Springs GOP usual suspects Jeff Crank and Laura Carno, the latter being the head of a group that helped fund the recall attempt against Senate President John Morse, announces a complaint against the ad you see above, claiming the ad makes "reckless and false" statements about SD-11 recall successor candidate Bernie Herpin. Excerpt:
Jeff Crank and Laura Carno, with legal analysis in hand, today have asked four Colorado Springs television stations to remove television commercials that contain “false and reckless statements”. These ads have been produced and paid for by “We Can Do Better”.
The ads in question contain false statements against Republican Candidate for Senate District 11, Bernie Herpin, stating that he supports the Personhood Amendment, when in fact, he does not.
“I’ve fought untruthful ads run by candidates from both political parties for many years now but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen such an absolute lie in a political ad. People have little faith in politicians because of untrue, dishonest ads like this one. The law is fairly clear that you cannot “knowingly” broadcast a lie,” said Jeff Crank. “The group that put out this ad knows that there is no evidence that Bernie Herpin supported the Personhood Amendment yet they tied him to another candidate who does. They lied and they knew they lied. Under the law, these ads must be taken off the air and I call on John Morse and Angela Giron to have the guts to condemn these untruthful, despicable, exploitative ads.”
Laura Carno said, “This is about integrity in the public square. Politicians on both sides of the aisle, who lie in order to win, should reconsider their careers. Voters want elected officials who tell the truth, and that includes telling the truth during their campaigns.”
This is an interesting development, but we don't think it was wise to challenge this ad for several reasons. First and foremost, as we discussed earlier this week, Herpin answered a Pikes Peak Citizens for Life candidate questionnaire just this past April, where he proudly claims to be pro-life, and says that we "become persons" at the "single cell" stage of development. As we noted, that's almost exactly the language of the "Personhood" amendments from 2008 and 2010. 2008's Amendment 48 stated that "the terms 'person' or 'persons' shall include any human being from the moment of fertilization." In 2010, Amendment 62's language was that "the term 'person' shall apply to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being." The negative effects of the "Personhood" initiative as described in the ad above are not enumerated in the one-sentence language of the amendments, but would be the net effect of passage.
Secondly, Crank and Carno appear to jettison the other recall successor candidate, SD-3's George Rivera, by claiming this ad "tied" Herpin to "another candidate" who does support the "Personhood" initiatives. Angela Giron's SD-3 is a Democratic stronghold, where support for "Personhood" is likely to hurt even worse than it would in Morse's swing SD-11. But not only are Carno and Crank unconcerned about Rivera, they're actually triangulating off Rivera and his unabashed support for "Personhood" and banning abortion.
In short, you've got a dubious challenge to a claim that, even if it's flawed and we don't think it is, inevitably segues into a conversation about abortion that Bernie Herpin doesn't want to have. Once Herpin is forced to explain these candidate questionnaire responses, Crank and Carno's claim that this ad is "false and reckless" simply breaks down. And to "save" Herpin from an allegation that actually does have basis in fact, El Paso County Republicans are throwing the Pueblo Republican recall candidate under the wheels.
Bottom line: we think they are genuinely worried about this.