Ad calling Endicott a ‘land speculator’ angers candidate

By JIM HALEY

Herald Writer

Writer and lecturer Irene Endicott lives in a single-family home on a normal lot south of 128th Street SE just outside Mill Creek.

It’s the only property she and her husband, William, own, she said.

That’s why she took offense to a political mailer sent recently to voters in the 44th Legislative District.

The ad called her a "land speculator" and accused her of "running for the Legislature to make it easier for her to develop her own property." It accuses her of taking in thousands of dollars from developers who want to gut growth-control laws.

The ad also asserts that developers are trying to "pave their way to the Legislature" with political contributions from developers.

It depicts a bulldozer pushing dirt against the state Capitol and a dump truck loaded with a huge money bag.

It’s a lie, Endicott said.

Endicott, 66, is challenging incumbent John Lovick for one of the two House seats up for grabs in the district next month. The ad wasn’t sent out by Lovick, but by the state Democratic Central Committee.

Endicott’s Republican consultant, Todd Myers, called it a "hit piece."

"Lies and innuendo are sort of the backbone of hit pieces, and that’s what this whole piece is," Myers said.

The political ad was mailed in the midst of a furious political battle into which both parties are pouring substantial sums. It’s one place the Republicans believe they can take a seat away from the Democrats, en route to a majority in the House and a breakup of the party tie in that chamber.

Endicott said the emphasis of her campaign has been on education and transportation, not growth.

"We don’t own any property except where our little house sits," she said. "I care deeply about our schools and our transportation," and land development "is not a priority with me."

Endicott said she wants an apology. But she’s not likely to get one.

Lovick said he didn’t order the ad and didn’t know of its content until it hit the mailboxes. He said he has run a positive campaign, focusing on what he intends to do for district voters.

State Democratic Committee Chairman Paul Berendt said the party produced the political mailer based on Endicott’s statements when she announced her candidacy in April.

She recounted problems she and her husband had developing about 13 acres because of state Growth Management Act regulations, and said the law needs some constructive changes.

But Endicott said the development activities ceased years ago. Her husband built three homes and sold the last of the property nearly five years ago. She said she resents being called a land speculator.

Berendt disagrees.

"This is an important issue in this district, how growth is managed and implemented. Irene Endicott needs to be held accountable for her own words," Berendt said. "People who buy and sell property generally are land speculators. I think she’s being disingenuous."

Lovick said he’s in favor of truthful statements in campaigns and will not necessarily disavow this mailer. However, he said he will ask the state committee to check its facts and refrain from similar mailers if the facts are incorrect.

According to state Public Disclosure Commission records, Endicott has raised about $6,000 in contributions from people and organizations connected with the development industry. Lovick picked up $2,000 from similar sources.

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