Attack mail and negative campaign tactics are common among all parties. Del. Lee Carter (Virginia House District 50’s) recently commented on how his opponent Ian Lovejoy and the Republican Party have sent out a slew of negative campaign literature attacking him personally as well as his record and announced that he will not be returning in kind.
Carter said he prefers to focus on the issues.
“I hear from constituents literally every day on Facebook comments, text messages, and at doorsteps, and the number one thing hearing from people is just how disgusted they are with all the negative garbage being put in their mailbox,” Carter said.
According to some residents, during some weeks they have received five mailers from the Ian Lovejoy campaign, often more than once a day. Carter believes that some of that literature has actually turned off more voters to Lovejoy.
“There is just disgust with my opponent’s campaign that it has overridden a lot of concerns of the voters,” said Carter.
Carter is had no plan to match the Lovejoy campaign on money spent either.
“We run a very efficient campaign,” he said. He notes that he was “massively underspent” by his opponent, long-time incumbent Jackson Miller in 2017, and still came out ahead by a significant margin. “We talk to people on their doorsteps.”
The delegate is disgusted by the widespread messages was that he owed $14,000 in child support. He said the judge waived that requirement when he was out of work, but he voluntarily offered to pay it nonetheless.
“My opponent who doesn’t have kids has waded into documents of a custody fight without knowing what actually happened,” Carter said.
“The court documents speak for themselves,” said a representative of the Lovejoy campaign. “Del. Carter signed a sworn statement in court admitting that he was delinquent on child support. If it wasn’t true, why did he sign the statement?”
Carter also disputes the assertion that is not supporting schools.
“I put in the budget amendment to cover the entire cost of teacher pay raises.” The amendment was unanimously supported by the Manassas City Council, which Lovejoy served on. “He knows that I supported the teacher pay raises. He voted for it.”
Carter said he only voted against the general budget, wanting it to do more to provide healthcare benefits for employees.
That is also disputed by the Lovejoy campaign, which stands by its statements.
“Del. Carter can argue about his intentions all day, but what matters is how he voted (on HB 1700). The question before the house was whether or not to give teachers a 5 percent raise, and he voted no. The record is clear and no amount of arguing can change that,” a spokesperson for the Lovejoy campaign said.
Lovejoy believes it is exactly what the people want and expect from their delegate, a person who is going to make the area more prosperous and a better place to live.
“We think Ian is the best candidate for District 50 because his values align much more closely with the district with Ian supporting the economy, creating more jobs and making this a better place to live, work and raise a family,” said a representative of the Lovejoy campaign.
Republican Committee Chairman Bill Card said it would have behooved Carter to attend the Chamber of Commerce debates, which he boycotted. At the very least he could have learned something about the business community
Carter notes the organization spent millions last year supporting Republican candidates. “It’s a right-wing organization. There is no reason to believe the chamber of commerce would be impartial.”
(This year, the Prince William Chamber did endorse some Democratic candidates, notably Ann Wheeler for Chairman of the Board of Supervisors.)
Carter wants people to know he very focused on worker protections. Virginia offers the worst employee protections in the nation according to the United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration. “We’re behind Mississippi; we’re behind Alabama.”
Carter fought against Amazon coming into Northern Virginia as it hurts small local businesses and affordable housing. He thinks mega-companies are the biggest enemies of small businesses.
But there are some items on the mailers that Carter said are absolutely true.
Carter did vote against adding more SRO officers.
“Having police in schools just gives a route for students to get arrested for things that in the past would be handled by the teacher or the principal,” Carter said.
The data shows this is especially true for minority students or special education and emotionally disabled students.
Carter advocates for providing state representatives with a raise, saying it should be a serious job, not a hobby for the wealthy and he wants more middle-class people represented.
And Carter is pushing for the legalization and regulation of cannabis/marijuana and expunging the records of those arrested for having marijuana once it becomes legal in the Commonwealth.
“We are criminalizing people for having a plant…Black people are convicted of cannabis crimes at three times the rate of white people.”
Like his opponent, Carter also believes his philosophy better matches those in the 50th district.
“I’m fighting for things that are going to benefit things in Manassas and Bristow,” such as supporting blue-collar workers, worker protections, healthcare for all, and affordable housing.
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