Candidate: She doesn’t condone GOP hit pieces against rival

OAK HARBOR — A Republican state senator has taken the uncommon step of publicly denouncing the way a Democratic opponent is shown in a mailer paid for with money raised by her GOP colleagues.

Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, in an interview and a letter published in The Herald, criticized the mailer’s use of a photo portraying challenger Angela Homola in an “unflattering manner.”

And she insisted she had no involvement with the materials sent by the Good Government Leadership Council, an independent committee funded solely by the political operation of the Senate Republican Caucus.

“This piece was a complete surprise to me,” Bailey wrote in her Aug. 11 letter. I do not condone such actions and have reiterated to my campaign staff and supporters that I have not and will never authorize literature such as this.”

In the interview, Bailey said she wrote the letter in response to letters in The Herald and other papers “making me look like a terrible individual” for the existence of the mailer.

“The reality is people can put out whatever they want to put out,” she said. “I don’t like anybody using them on my behalf. I don’t like anybody using them against me. The campaign should be more about what I’ve done, what I’ve accomplished and what the plan is for the future.”

The mailers targeted Homola’s tenure as an employee in the Island County planning department that ended with a negotiated layoff in 2003. They also criticized her record as an elected Island County commissioner from 2009-2013.

They contain a photo of Homola as she scrubs moss off her roof. She is in jeans and t-shirt and wearing gloves. Some of the mailers crop the photo to show only her face and it appears grainy and a bit out of focus.

Homola, who said she is a trained carpenter, said the mug photo is a doctored version of a picture she posted online. She wanted to show herself doing something that voters would not likely see Bailey do — climb on a roof to clean off the moss by hand.

Homola’s greater frustration and anger is directed at assertions in mailers which she said distort information about her job performance and legislative record. She set up a page on her campaign web site for voters to “Get the facts” about the group behind the mailers.

While Bailey’s campaign didn’t send out the mailers, Homola insisted the senator “could put a stop” to their continued use. Homola called on Bailey to give back contributions received from individuals and groups that also gave to the Republican PAC.

“How can you be a public servant and not have any control over your campaign finances?” she asked. “If you can’t control your campaign finances, how can we trust you to be in control of the state finances?”

The Senate Republican Caucus operates the Leadership Council as its soft-money political action committee. As of Monday, it had raised $1.4 million and given $295,000 to the Good Government Leadership Council for its independent campaign efforts. That PAC spent nearly $40,000 on the pieces targeting Homola.

Bailey said she did express her concerns about the mailers privately to caucus leaders as well as some donors who’ve given money to her campaign and the Leadership Council. She declined to identify with whom she spoke. Nor, she said, is she intending to return any contributions.

There is little more Bailey can do. State law bars her and her campaign staff from coordinating in any fashion with any independent political committee.

Given recent history, her caucus isn’t likely to ease off.

Eight years ago, the caucus political operation funneled money through the Citizen Action Group to pay for a torrent of mailers attacking then Democratic state Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen. One famously featured Haugen’s photo alongside those of deceased Soviet leader Yuri Andropov and liberal Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, of Seattle.

Haugen withstood the barrage and prevailed in the election.

In 2012, the Leadership Council started using the Good Government Leadership Council as its conduit.

That year it spent $256,790 on a political offensive against the venerable Haugen. Among the salvos was a mailer with an image of Haugen photoshopped with hands covering her ears to symbolize she had stopped listening to constituents.

It worked. Bailey, then a state representative, defeated Haugen in one of the year’s most combative and expensive legislative races.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; Twitter: @dospueblos.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Monroe High School with (inset) a Facebook video screenshot from Nov. 10, 2021, which showed a white student repeatedly using racial slurs in a confrontation with a Black student.
‘It makes me angry’: Black students in Monroe report persistent racism

“Please help stop this racism,” a first-grade student told the Monroe school board Monday. Other kids reported racist slurs.

Zachary Robbins
Marysville superintendent could start a month early

A June start means Zachary Robbins could weigh in on a $13.5 million budget shortfall and a parental consent policy for clubs.

Driver dies after rollover crash at Smokey Point

The deceased man, 25, reportedly sped off from police before crashing into a nearby utility pole. A woman, 19, was injured.

FILE - In this Oct. 24, 2020, file photo, a Washington state Department of Agriculture worker holds two of the dozens of Asian giant hornets vacuumed from a tree in Blaine, Wash. Authorities say they've found the first Asian giant hornet nest of 2021 in a rural area east of Blaine. State entomologists will now develop a plan to eradicate the nest. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Scientists will set 1,000 traps for murder hornets this year

Asian giant hornets, first detected in 2019, are are believed to be confined in Whatcom County.

Lynnwood City Council member George Hurst moves to postpone action on the vehicle license fees ordinance during the council's meeting Monday. (Screenshot/City of Lynnwood)
Lynnwood to keep collecting a car tab fee and utility tax, for now

City Council members will consider repealing them in October when they write a new city budget.

Epic Ford on the corner of 52nd Street and Evergreen Way in Everett is closed. The dealership has been in business for more than 50 years. (Janice Podsada / The Herald)
After 50 years, Everett’s Epic Ford dealership closes shop

It opened in 1971, when gas guzzling muscle cars like the Ford Mustang still ruled the road.

Lyon Torns enters the courtroom for his sentencing Wednesday afternoon in the Snohomish County Superior Courtroom in Everett, Washington on May 25, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Everett man gets 19 years in fatal Marysville shooting

Lyon “Nick” Torns sold fentanyl to Jason Castle, 42. In November 2020, Torns shot and killed him, then fled to Las Vegas.

Ian Saltzman
School leaders in Everett, Mukilteo districts receive raises

Superintendents Ian Saltzman in Everett and Alison Brynelson in Mukilteo secured contract extensions through 2025.

Brace for Memorial Day weekend traffic and long ferry lines

Leave at non-peak hours to avoid road congestion and ferry backups. The passes will be busy, too.

Most Read