As Election Day draws near, the typical outlandish last-minute attacks have been launched by both sides in contested races for Kentucky’s state House of Representatives. But this mailer from the Republican Party of Kentucky attacking Rep. Jim Gooch, D-Providence, has taken such tactics to a new level:
As you can see, the mailer equates granting a provisional driver’s license to undocumented immigrants to aiding al-Qaeda and ISIS. Left unsaid is the fact that 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta entered the United States legally, and that Florida had no law on the books giving driver’s licenses to the undocumented.
Amber Duke, spokeswoman for the ACLU of Kentucky, strongly criticized the mailer, saying it is especially offensive as someone who was in Manhattan during the 9/11 attacks.
“As an American that stood in lower Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001 — watching the attacks as they happened, watching the buildings collapse, watching the terror unfold — I find it beyond offensive that a campaign would attempt to exploit a national tragedy for political gain,” says Duke. “The creators of this error-filled postcard greatly underestimate the intelligence of Kentucky voters to see through their fear-mongering. To equate undocumented Kentuckians that want to take a driver’s test and pay insurance to obtain a driving certificate to terrorists is abominable.”
A message left at the Republican Party of Kentucky headquarters was not returned.
Insider Louisville was at Metro Hall upon learning of the mailer this afternoon and spoke with a few members of Metro Council to gauge their reaction. Metro Councilman Jerry Miller, R-19, who is expected to win his race next week for state House in the 36th District, declined to comment on the RPK mailer.
Metro Councilman David Tandy, D-4, said he wasn’t surprised the RPK put out such a mailer, because “that’s what they do,” also noting that Timothy McVeigh had a drivers license.
“Mailers like this are just another example of Republicans’ last-ditch efforts of trying to scare voters rather than standing on their own record and ideas to move our commonwealth forward,” said Tandy. “The saying we had in law school was that if you have the laws and facts on your side, you pound on those, but when you have neither one of those, you just pound on the table … It’s attempting to try to play off of fears. One has nothing to do with the other.”
Kentucky Democratic Party chairman Daniel Logsdon sent the following statement to Insider Louisville:
“I never thought I’d see RPK stoop so low. To see them try to tie a member of the Kentucky Legislature to 9-11 and terrorist groups is just beyond comprehension. I know that the word ‘shame’ gets thrown around a lot during campaigns but I don’t know how anyone involved with this mail piece can look themselves in the mirror or sleep at night. This isn’t politics and it’s not fair game- this is the exploitation of an American tragedy. I can’t denounce it harshly enough and I can’t imagine how anyone at RPK thought this was acceptable.”