Across the country, Republican candidates for small and large offices have been running on platforms that allege their Democratic candidates plan to defund the police. Ads sent out across the country include mischaracterizations or direct lines and, in some cases, photoshopped or deepfaked images that show candidates in clothes with logos they’ve never worn.
CNN highlighted eight major deceptive ads in a breakdown by reporter Daniel dale this Sunday.
In California’s 3rd District, Republican House of Representatives candidate Kevin Kiley claimed that his opponent Kermit Jones was in pocket with Nancy Pelosi in a video ad that read on screen: “PELOSI-JONES AGENDA: Defund The Police.”
While Pelosi herself has multiple times said that defunding the police is not the position of the democratic party or a plan for new legislation, Jones has explicitly rejected the idea. Kermit Jones is endorsed by the Peace Officers Research Association of California.
In another case, this time in Iowa’s 2nd district, a Congressional Leadership Fund ad accused Liz Mathis of “marching with a far-left group that wants to defund the police.” The group in question is the advocacy group Indivisible, which did begin calling for defunding police in 2020 after the murder of George Floyd. The problem? Mathis was seen with Indivisible activists in 2017, long before they adopted that position. Even more confusing? The event was an Iowa City “Fun Fest,” not a political protest, and the photo with Mathis was an incidental event photo.
You can read more of CNN’s fact-checking here.
Meanwhile, Paul Specht from WRAL reports that mail, TV, and digital political ads in North Carolina are getting even more deceptive: faking situations, outfits and images to mislead voters.
Ads sent out as campaign mailers doctored to show Democratic lawmakers in T-shirts with the words “defund the police” were apparently commissioned by a conservative political group known as the Carolina Leadership Coalition, WRAL reports.
U.S. House candidate Senator Jeff Jackson, went to twitter to complain about one doctored photo sent out targeted Democratic Rep. Ricky Hurtado, which changed a campaign t-shirt with his own name on it to a “Defund the Police” shirt. Jackson called the move a “comically dishonest political attack.”
A spokesman for the Carolina Leadership Coalition told WRAL that he believed the ads were fair and that they counted as caricatures, reflecting the candidates “records on the issue,” but the candidates argue they’ve never indicated an intention to defund police.
Brian Echevarria, a Republican legislative candidate, had his image edited into a fake police lineup, even though he had never been arrested for a case involving a bad check he issued in the 90s which was ultimately dismissed.