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War of words escalates in 24th Dist race

Friday, October 27, 2006

Peninsula News Network

Clallam County, WA - State Representative Jim Buck is demanding an apology from Democratic Legislative leaders, accusing them of lying about his attendance for votes. Democratic challenger Kevin Van de Wege is accusing Buck of distorting his involvement on numerous local issues.


And the accusations and counter-attacks are all landing in your mailbox as the campaign for 24th District Legislator reaches a level of unprecedented bitterness.

Buck and Van de Wege are vying for votes in a rematch of their 2004 campaign that saw the incumbent Republican lawmaker best his Democratic challenger in a race that was close, but far from a cliffhanger. While the pair has been considerate of one another during their campaign appearances, behind the scenes the contest is reaching the boiling point.AntiBuckflyer0000.jpg

Friday, Buck attacked the House Democratic leadership for mailings that question the Joyce Republican’s absence on “over 100 votes” during the last two years, claiming his attendance ranks 92nd out of 98 members in the house. The mailer also accuses of being “against small business”, “increasing property taxes” and denying the creation of new jobs.

The flyer, and another mailed Friday charging Buck with doing “nothing” on health care costs, was paid for by the Harry Truman Fund. In a press release Friday, Buck lashed out at the Political Action Committee, which represents the House Democratic Campaign Committee, saying he is “outraged” that House Speaker Frank Chopp “would allow his PAC to use the illness of a member as a campaign issue”.

Buck says some of the excused absences referenced in the campaign piece were authorized by Chopp and the Chief Clerk, allowing him to recover “under a doctor’s care” for respiratory infection. He says when he was able to return to work a few days later last March, he placed an entry in the House Journal showing how he would have voted, and that none of the votes on those bills would have changed the outcome.

Buck says the Legislature has a history of members working together when someone gets ill and called the campaign  “serious breach of trust”, saying Chopp and the Harry Truman Fund had “engaged in a cheap campaign stunt: and demanding a public apology.

At the same time, Van de Wege leveled new charges Friday, claiming Buck’s latest campaign flyers had distorted his activities, claiming he was a “no show” at numerous events throughout the district. He claims Buck is attempting to “blatantly mislead the voters” by accusing him of “not caring” about various projects. Van de Wege’s campaigning also issued a blistering press release Friday morning accusing Buck of “flip-flopping” on the issue of requiring more use of bio-diesel fuels.



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