Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Blue Bexley Campaign Capsule #3 - Bev Campbell v. Jim McGregor

When I started this blog, I looked for races that were on the Bexley ballot, which were competitive, and in which added attention could make a difference. When I first looked at the Campbell-McGregor race, I saw a multi-term incumbent Republican who was mayor of one of the major communities in the district for 18 years. To my embarrassment, I underestimated both Republican overconfidence and Bev Campbell's desire, and spent my energy promoting other races.

Well, as I looked elsewhere, The Dispatch was talking about how Bev was working the crowd outside of every Buckeye home game, and Yellow Dog Sammy (BTW, how in blazes does he keep abreast of every single race in the state?) was highlighting the BevCampbell videos on YouTube, short speeches from meeting with voters that outlined her positions on issues. Gradually, it dawned on me, that here was an underdog Dem running to represent Bexley, running a positive campaign and working both with grassroots and netroots to win her race. The final piece, of course, was "is the race competitive?"

The first polling data that made it out to the public showed Ms. Campbell leading Jim McGregor in the 20th District.

At that point, I took my flying leap onto the bandwagon. In response, to my admiring surprise, Bev actually joined in a number of the discussions that have gone on between myself and various anonynous folks of different political stripes in the comments. As with many things in this race, Bev has a personal passion about many things the rest of us just 'commentate' upon.

As the campaign proceeded, her Republican opponent did what many Republicans have done this cycle, and started to dig up dirt on Ms. Campbell and fling it. The general thrust of the attacks has been that Bev Lied, Cheated, and Stole from her clients when she was an East Coast Lawyer. To be honest, I was glad that Bev was showing up on the blog to defend herself, because I didn't know the facts, and I was nervous going to bat for her without them.

So I contacted Bev, and asked about the content of McGregor's charges and her response. And I got angry myself. Working backwards, her opponents campaign claims that Bev is currently under investigation for ethics charges. This is true to the extent that the Republicans are the sole complainants in a baseless charge filed against Ms. Campbell (remember this technique from the Tiberi Campaign above?). Why do they think they can get away with this? Because Ms. Campbell did have a period of her life where she experienced problems. She was in a serious car accident, with devastating injuries. In the aftermath of this accident, she did not pay adequate attention to her responsibilities to her clients. She was punished for this. She does not deny this, although it is obvious that talking about this period of her life is not easy for her.

Is this enough to disqualify her for public office, years later, and after she fought back through the injuries to restore her body and reputation? I don't think so, and apparently her opponents didn't either. She did not lie. She did not cheat. She did not steal. They claim she was charged with and reprimanded for unethical conduct. She was not. They claim she was suspended from practicing law multiple times. She was not. Bev and her supporters have filed complaints that these charges are false and levelled with knowledge of and/or reckless disregard as to their falsity.

What does it say when a multiple term incumbent who was mayor of a moderate suburb for 18 years resorts to ugly disortions of his opponents past? It says he knows he won't win a fair fight, and it also says he doesn't deserve to. Bev has earned this seat.


Anonymous said...

While I appreciate your defending of Campbell, she has had her license suspended multiple times. Once in Pennsylvania and once in New Jersey. Don't take my word for it, look it up.

I'm not sure how surgery and recovering from an injury excuse actions that get an attorney's law license suspended and charged with illicit client charging.

God forbid she or any other legislator get involved in an accident. "Horrible accidents and difficult recoveries" are not a free pass to break the law. Who knows what such a person could do in such a "state"? Excuses are just that. She should take responsibility and you should not be defending her.

Anonymous said...

You sound like a Republican to me.

bonobo said...

My understanding is that her license was suspended for a single continuous period of time, for the same reason, by two separate entities. If we agree on that characterization, then we're arguing over a pretty narrow point of semantics. If you mean something else, please clarify.

I think the temptation is there to make excuses, but when you look at the complaints she has made she never disputes the charge of negligence, nor does she claim that the suspension was unwarranted. Tough as it's gotta be, she's not covering up the problems she actually did have at the time. As I said in the piece, if neglecting her duties in that situation was evidence enough that she wasn't fit for the GA, her opponent wouldn't have had to embellish the charges. The party wouldn't have had to file a frivolous complaint.

BTW, two things that will help me take you more seriously - 1, pick a pseudonym instead of using the 'anonymous' option. I can't address 'anonymous' when there are several 'anonymae' in a given comment thread, and 2, resist the flimsy cheap shots. It's not what a person could *do* in such a state, it's what they fail to do that's at issue here.

openmind said...

"You sound like a Republican to me." This response saddens me. How close-minded do you have to be to completely shut down when another viewpoint is offered. How about actually responding with intelligence, not ignorance?

I don't believe that it was a flimsy cheap shot. If she uses her injury as a defense, what does that say about her? The hearing is tomorrow, so I believe we'll know much more. I'll check back in after the hearing.


bonobo said...

Openmind, thanks for using a name, I appreciate it. If/when the other 'anonymous' responds to your sadness, you'll start to see why having names helps. The flimsy cheap shot remark was addressed to the insinuation that someone would engage in negative actions in an injured state, given that they had failed to take positive action in a similar state.

Furthermore, there's a difference between an excuse and an explanantion. The injury is a mitigating circumstance, not intended to be exculpatory. It's kind of beside the point, anyway. At issue in the complaints is not whether or not her injury excuses negligence, it is whether or not the mischaracterization of the charges against her rise to the level of knowingly false statements or statements made with reckless disregard as to their falsity. It's a tough standard to prove, but as you say, we'll know more tomorrow.

Bev Campbell said...

FYI, tomorrow's hearing is only as to whether there is "probable cause" to believe a violation of the election laws may have occurred, and that the respondents committed it. There will not likely be a full hearing on the issues before election day.

In preparing for the OEC hearings we have come upon evidence that makes the actions of McGregor and his backers not only even more reprehensible, but civilly liable to me as well as the public. We are seriously contemplating a civil action for defamation and libel as well as a civil rights class action for the conspiracy to deprive not only me, but the voters of the 20th district, of their civil rights. That action will likely be filed regardless of the outcome in the OEC hearings. I WILL hold them accountable, you can be sure of that.

openmind said...

Well, it's tomorrow. Bev's case actually was heard before the Commission on Friday. They first asked for a continuance, even though they brought the charges themselves. They were not allowed the continuance, and the hearing resulted in the 5 charges being dismissed. Her attorney appealed, and on Monday, the full board refused to even hear the reconsideration. The Commission is equally bipartisan, and I believe the truth has been revealed, as well as who is making misstatements.

Bev Campbell said...

Dear Openmind,

Apparently you are unaware that we are not only appealing the denial of probable cause, we are also filing civil actions. The panel split pretty much right down party lines (as expected), the made no finding at all as to the truth or falsity of the statements or the merit of our claims. They did not touch the merits. This case is just like McKimm and Resnick: the OEC did the same thing there in same fact pattern and it was overturned on appeal.

This is nowhere near over. Respondents' attorneys know that, and they know their clients have significant exposure: that is why they have already contacted us wanting to settle.

And PS - we never asked for any continuance. Where are you getting your information???

openmind said...

"Pretty much right down the middle", that's an interesting quote. What does that mean? I'll ask you this, were there any Democrats who didn't side with you?

And it is true they didn't make a finding as to the truth or falsity or the merit of your claims. It never got that far. The commission refused to even hear those parts of your argument. I will allow the readers to ascertain the meaning of that.

PS - You should speak with your attorney about the continuance issue.

Bev Campbell said...

Right down the middle is a simple concept: it means the Republicans voted in favor of the Republican and the Democrats voted in favor of the Democrat. And, for your information, not only do I talk to my attorney all the time, I was there myself. Were you?

Now, for the record, you know my name. Maybe you would like to come out of the shadows and tell us your name.