Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Another ad, more sniping
Posted on Sept. 21, 2012 at 1:00 a.m.

Another ad, more sniping.

Democratic U.S. House hopeful Brendan Mullen launched an attack on Republican hopeful Jackie Walorski in a new TV ad, focusing in part on her 2006 vote as state lawmaker in favor of leasing Indiana Toll Road operations.

“Washington, filled with bickering politicians out for themselves, and it’s the same in Indianapolis, like Jackie Walorski,” the narrator gravely intones. The ad, which hit the airwaves Wednesday, goes on to note Walorski’s 2006 vote, adding that she “received thousands from those benefitting from the sweetheart deal.”

The Walorski campaign responded, saying in a press release that the ad “proves (Mullen’s) willingness to endorse dirty politics and name calling.”

The ad “is a pathetic attempt to distort Jackie’s bipartisan voting record, but Hoosiers know that D.C. insider Brendan Mullen does not share their values,” Walorski campaign manager Brendon DelToro said in the response. “It’s disappointing to see Mullen continually name call and wrongfully attack Jackie’s integrity.”

The National Republican Congressional Committee chimed in, criticizing an earlier Mullen ad that shows him sitting with his family on the porch of a South Bend home, seemingly his own, that actually belongs to the family of some friends. It underscores what Mullen’s critics paint as his tenuous roots to the area.

It appears that Mullen, originally from South Bend but a resident of Washington D.C. from 2006 to 2011, “is trying really, really hard to make it seem like he is a Hoosier and even borrowed a house for his first campaign TV ad,” an NRCC statement sent Wednesday charges. “Not kidding on this one!”

The Mullen campaign responded Thursday, saying that logistics partially dictated selection of the home in question for a snippet of video that shows the Democrat, his wife and the couple’s oldest daughter and dog. Since the rest of the ad in question was filmed in South Bend, it was cheaper to film at that house than go to Mullen’s home in Granger.

“That is the neighborhood where Brendan grew up,” said Andy Reynolds, the Democrat’s campaign manager. Growing up, Mullen lived just a block-and-a-half away from the home in the ad and he’s long-time friends with the family that lives there.

THE TOLL ROAD DEAL

In the controversial 2006 toll road vote — still decried by some — operation of the roadway was taken over by a Spanish-Australian consortium. The “thousands” of dollars the ad says Walorski subsequently received is a reference to around $8,400 in apparent campaign donations from groups associated with construction companies, potential beneficiaries of the toll road decision.

The Walorski response notes that because of the 2006 decision, the state received $3.85 billion from the toll road concessionaire, enough “to fund an entire generation of road construction projects.”

In other campaign business, Mullen, who operates a consulting firm, held a press conference on Thursday in South Bend to announce the support of a coalition of businessmen.

“I’ve balanced budgets, I’ve made payroll and I’ve provided health care,” Mullen said in a statement. “Send me to Washington and I’ll bring my business experience and Hoosier values with me, and together, we’ll move our community, our state and our country forward.”