(Host) The Republican candidate for state auditor has pulled a TV ad that accused his opponent of misleading the public about her academic record. Challenger Randy Brock said the ad was aired by mistake this week. He’s replaced it with a second ad that he says is less inflammatory.
VPR’s John Dillon reports.
(Dillon) The question of Auditor Elizabeth Ready’s academic credentials continues to dominate the race. In biographies published by the state, Ready claimed she had college degrees that she had not earned. Her opponent, Republican Randy Brock, has seized on the issue – most recently in a television ad this week.
(Sound from ad) “State auditor Elizabeth Ready caught lying, again!”
(Dillon) Brock pulled the ad after one night, and replaced it with one that is less accusatory but has the same underlying message.
The Republican candidate says several versions of the ad were taped and the wrong one was aired.
(Brock) “We wanted an ad that conveyed a message but we didn’t want an ad that became inflammatory to the point that the message was obscured by the ad itself. I believe that the ad that actually was run was not the ad we intended to have run. It was run in error.”
(Dillon) But Brock continues to charge that Ready misrepresented her academic credentials. He says it’s impossible to believe that Ready listed the unearned college degrees by accident in state directories.
Ready has apologized – and says she didn’t deliberately try to deceive people about her background. She points out that in newspaper interviews over the years she told reporters that she had dropped out of the University of Vermont.
But she hasn’t fully explained why she repeatedly supplied the wrong information about her education to the state.
(Ready) “I listed the three institutions that I attended and I should have listed just the one I got the degree from. And I also was not as quick to correct the errors as I should have been. And I have taken responsibility for that and apologized for it.”
(Dillon) Democrats charged that both Brock ads were examples of negative campaigning. Mark Michaud is spokesman for the state Democratic Party.
(Michaud) “Randy Brock has made clear from day one that he intends to run his campaign based solely on negative, personal attacks against Elizabeth Ready. And regardless of which version you’re talking about, this is like pornography: Vermonters know it when they see it. And this is the politics of personal destruction and I frankly think it’s going to run most people off.”
(Dillon) Brock says he’ll also campaign on his plans to change the auditors’ office. Ready says she won’t run negative ads, but will ask voters to support her based on her record as auditor.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m John Dillon.