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Anti-Bates ads beneath contempt

Honorable Republicans should send a clear message to those responsible

Jim Wright is an honorable man who finds himself dealing with dishonorable allies. That alliance has sullied the reputations of two men ' Wright and his opponent, Alan Bates ' and marked Wright's campaign as one of the dirtiest on record in Southern Oregon.

The Leadership Fund, a political action committee that supports Republicans, sent mailers out this week to voters in Senate District 3, labeling Democrat Alan Bates as a deadbeat dad who refused to pay child support.

It's true that Bates refused to pay child support. But here's the rest of the story: Bates removed his two daughters and a step-daughter from their mother's home after it became clear that it was a dangerous and abusive situation. From then on, the children were with him, so he refused to pay child support to the woman who had allowed the dangerous situation to develop.

That was 20-plus years ago and today, Bates says he would do the same thing if faced with those same circumstances again. He protected his daughters, who still have a close relationship with him and have little or no contact with their mother.

But the flier doesn't tell the story of a man who rescued his daughters from danger. It is instead a damnable half-truth, prepared and delivered by people who are beneath contempt.

Wright and his campaign supporters say they had nothing to do with the flier and in fact have their own questions about the story Bates' ex-wife raised. But they knew the flier was probably being developed, because the Bates campaign contacted them more than a week prior to ask that they prevent the malicious mailer from going out to voters.

— They didn't, so they also must bear responsibility for the garbage that was distributed in mailboxes this week.

The people pushing this trash make no apologies for it. They will do anything in their power to get Republicans elected. Well, it's time for honorable Republicans to stand up and say they are no longer welcome at the table, either in the election or when the Legislature gathers in Salem.

Undecided voters also should see this for what it is. If this kind of sleaze is allowed to succeed, we are all the poorer for it. Undecided voters should send a message that they will not tolerate slimy campaigns by voting for Alan Bates.