Legislative candidates promise to run clean campaigns

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 23, 2002

Three Republican candidates for the state legislature signed a clean-campaign pledge in Albert Lea Thursday, saying they won’t endorse efforts to distort their opponents’ stand on issues.

&uot;We just want to make sure nobody hits below the belt,&uot; said Sen. Grace Schwab, R-Albert Lea, who signed the pledge along with Rep. Dan Dorman, R-Albert Lea, and Jeff Anderson, who’s running for the state House seat formerly held by retiring legislator Rob Leighton of Austin.

The pledge says the candidates will ensure what they say about their opponents is true, and that criticisms will be &uot;fully documented and will not be deceptive, misleading, or taken out of context.&uot;

Email newsletter signup

The candidates also said they will not endorse the use of distorted or altered photos or video footage of their opponents in campaign advertisements or materials; will not use &uot;hyperbolic statements that appeal to voters’ fears&uot;; and that any criticisms, to the greatest extent possible, will relate directly to a vote or documented public position.

Dorman said candidates from both parties in other legislative elections have been guilty in the past of distorting their opponents’ records or using exaggerated statements to make them look bad. Some have gone as far as to alter photographs of their opponents to make them look &uot;evil,&uot; Dorman said.

&uot;I’m not sure we’re going to change the world overnight, but if we don’t highlight the issue, we’re never going to get any change,&uot; Dorman said.

The pledge stemmed from an earlier announcement by House Speaker Steve Sviggum, R-Kenyon, that the Republican caucus would follow a similar pledge. The state caucuses spent millions on advertising for local candidates, without their knowledge, in the last election. Many of the questionable campaign tactics came from those kinds of ads, the candidates said.

Sviggum challenged the DFL caucus to accept the same pledge, but Dorman said they refused because the Republicans do not support campaign-finance reform.

&uot;We don’t need a law to tell us the ethical way a campaign should be run,&uot; Dorman said.

The candidates said they aren’t trying to avoid being criticized.

&uot;I have a voting record, and my opponent has a right to look at it and question me on it,&uot; Dorman said. &uot;But stick to the facts and the issues.&uot;

Dorman’s DFL opponent, Allan Halvorsen of Albert Lea, said he expects to follow the same principals in running his campaign.

&uot;I intend to run a clean campaign,&uot; Halvorsen said. &uot;So far, Dan and I have been very respectful and cordial to one another.&uot;

He said he plans to keep his criticisms of Dorman to documented, verifiable positions. &uot;That’s what all of us should be doing,&uot; he said.