Candidate decries negative attack ads
A political flyer targeting House District 49 candidate Jeffrey Evangelos criticizes his Independent candidacy as inaccurate and touts him as a "liberal extremist" — a charge Evangelos calls ridiculous.
Evangelos said the flyer is a "despicable tactic," and said he is committed to running a clean campaign without negative attacks on his opponent, Republican Robert Carter. He wants Carter to distance himself from the flyer.
Evangelos said he doesn't have adequate funding to "combat the lies," and added voters he has spoken with are upset about the negative campaigning.
Evangelos added he signed the 2012 Maine code of fair campaign practices when he announced his candidacy in April.
Agreeing to the pledge is optional.
Jonathan Wayne, executive director of the Maine Ethics Commission, said Evangelos' opponent, Robert Carter, did not sign the pledge.
Wayne said based on personal observation, the majority of candidates sign the pledge to avoid negative campaign practices. He added that politicians running for office are sent the pledge upon registering and are given ample opportunity to be aware of and sign the pledge.
Carter said he didn't sign the pledge because he believes under the First Amendment, the public has a right to say what it wants.
"The flyer is obviously from a PAC [political action committee]. I don't control anything from PACs," he said.
Carter said he had no knowledge of the flyer's existence or content before receiving it in the mail last week.
"I don't like some of the language in it, whether or not the statements are true — they were footnoted — people can say these things, even if I don't agree, condone, or support it," he said.
The flyer footnotes the quotes and assertions listed, citing news organizations and the Regional School Unit 40 website — from an interview conducted by Friendship Village School students in 2007 — for the flyer's content.
A second flyer, paid for by the Maine Conservative PAC, has been sent to voters in the district, using pictures of dynamite to graphically emphasize the word extreme.
Evangelos said in the in the post 9/11 era, "unproven accusations utilizing language such as extremism in conjunction with pictured explosives is beyond the pale. It is a clear sign of desperation. My opponent, Robert Carter, has been called on to tell these PACS supporting him to stop these vicious smears. He has responded by supporting their "freedom of speech." Carter has refused to sign the Maine Ethics Commission pledge to run a clean campaign. Now we know why."
Maine Conservative PAC decision-maker Lynnie Sedgwick said nothing on the flyer is untrue, and all statements are referenced. She declined to comment on the graphics of the flyer.
Contact information for the Maine Conservative PAC lists Eden Spear the treasurer for the committee.
When called for comment, Spear said, "I didn't make the flyer, I'm just the treasurer and I have no comment."
The address for the PAC is Spear's home address in Nobleboro. Her telephone number and email address are also listed as contact information for the conservative committee on the Maine Ethics Commission website.
The Conservative Maine PAC, according to its independent expenditure report dated Sept. 28, lists Jeffery Evangelos and incumbent State Senator serving District 11, Richard Wooodbury, as candidates the committee opposes. District 11 serves constituents in Chebeague Island, Cumberland, Falmouth, Gray, Long Island, Yarmouth and North Yarmouth.
The PAC has expended approximately $1,715 to defeat Evangelos and $10,420 to defeat Woodbury, nearly totaling $12,134 spent thus far, according to the expenditure report.
Evangelos said he defends the right to free speech, but said the quotes used on the flyer are misleading and taken out of context.
Evangelos said he is a fiscal conservative with the record to prove it and is a moderate on social issues.
Evangelos said he withdrew from the Democratic Party because he disagreed with the bank bailouts and the undeclared wars.
Evangelos calls this the "Tea Party's Joseph McCarthy moment," adding, "they have no decency."
Courier Publications reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or via email at JLaaka@courierpublicationsllc.com.