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Monday, November 4,2013

Last-minute attacks

Campaign mailer against Brian Jeffries in final days of campaign misrepresents the facts

by Walt Sorg
Brian Jeffries

Monday, Nov. 4 — A last-minute political attack campaign against Lansing City Councilman Brian Jeffries that refers to a City Pulse story has misrepresented the facts.


The mysterious-but-well-funded “Capitol Region Progress,” which lists its address as the home of political consultant Matt Muxlow, has sent out two mailings attacking Jeffries in the run up to Tuesday’s election. Muxlow refuses to reveal the source of the money behind the mailers, and the committee has failed to register with either the state Elections Office or the Ingham County clerk.


The latest piece features the headline, “If It Smells Like a Rat...” and then misrepresents an incident from Jeffries’ 2002 campaign. A union bug appeared on a Jeffries campaign billboard, and the flyer claims Jeffries lied about it.


A City Pulse story at the time shows the union bug was mistakenly placed on the billboard by Adams Outdoor Advertising without the knowledge of the Jeffries campaign. It was quickly removed when the mistake was discovered.


The irony of the attack is that Jeffries’ reelection has been endorsed by the Greater Lansing Labor Council, a coalition of local unions. The Labor Council also endorsed Judi Brown Clarke for an at-large council seat. Meanwhile, the UAW has endorsed Kathie Dunbar and Brown Clarke.


The first mailing is a repeat of an earlier hit piece charging Jeffries with being a “Job Killer” for a series of votes on development projects over the years.


Historically the final weekend of Lansing’s contentious campaigns for City Council results in at least a few last-second, anonymous attacks.


Last-weekend attacks have the advantage of being virtually impossible to defend due to limited time. They have the disadvantage of missing a huge block of voters: Those who vote by absentee ballot and have already made their choices.


Two At-Large, one 4th Ward and one 2nd Ward City Council seats are up for reelection this year, as well as for the Mayor’s Office and city clerk. Lansing voters also will be asked to approve a charter amendment calling for relaxed enforcement of marijuana.

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