The road to the much sought after House of Representatives District 39 seat is proving to be anything but uneventful.
In the Sunday edition of The Commercial Dispatch, the daily newspaper ran an ad placed by House of Representatives hopeful Jack Larmour. The ad appears to be a copy of a letter sent to Larmour by the National Rifle Association. The ad claims that Larmour received an “A+ rating and endorsement for the 2011 Primary Election.” However, the NRA did not give Larmour an A+ rating nor did they endorse him and the organization is claiming that the ad was a fraud. Furthermore, NRA State Liaison Tara Reilly Mica states that not only are they not endorsing Larmour, but are endorsing his opponent, incumbent Jeff Smith and have been since day one.
As is customary in an election year, the NRA will send letters to candidates who request a rating from the organization. According to Mica, their ratings system is based on how well they feel candidates uphold the 2nd amendment. Mica says that both Smith and Larmour requested a rating and Smith received an “A+” rating and the endorsement for the primary election while Larmour received an “A” rating. Smith placed an ad with the Dispatch the week of June 13th, the week he received his endorsement. Larmour placed an ad this past Sunday, July 3rd, after receiving his endorsement June 21st. The glaring difference between the two ads is the signature on the bottom. Mica personally signs every endorsement letter and the signature between the two letters appears to be grossly different. So not only is the Larmour ad claiming a false rating and endorsement but the signature is allegedly fraudulent as well. However, the Larmour camp is claiming this was all a misunderstanding.
While Larmour could not be reached for comment, his wife Nancy told The Packet that she had spoken with Dispatch editor Birney Imes and he claimed that the graphic designer had mistakenly altered the letter.
Mrs. Larmour further laments: “We turned in a scanned copy of the letter to The Dispatch to print as is. He added things to it and forged this woman’s name down at the bottom. It is a horrible mistake and puts Jack and I in a very bad situation. This was no fault of ours.”
Imes also told The Packet that a graphic designer had altered the letter, adding “he must have confused it with Jeff Smith’s.”
When asked if he felt that running the ad twice could be seen as giving an advantage to Larmour, Imes responded with “It was just the best way to correct the mistake. Regardless…it just happened to be a political ad. We always do a make good.”
He continued by saying “The Larmour’s seemed to act in good faith towards us and without making a huge deal about it, we ran a corrected ad.”
All of this has the NRA seeing red. Mica said she also contacted Imes and was also told that the graphic designer had altered the letter by mistake. The liaison then stated that she failed to understand how a scanned letter could not only include a false endorsement but a forging of her signature and several grammatical errors as well. When she demanded the egregious error be corrected, Mica says Imes assured her he would run a corrected ad.
To that Mica exclaimed to The Packet: “Simply running a corrected ad and not addressing the blatant misrepresentation of our position in the race as well as taking responsibility for fraudulently creating a signature on an official NRA document is not my version of a correction. It’s unacceptable for any kind of reputable publication.”
When asked is she and her husband had in fact approved the ad before it printed in Sunday’s paper Mrs. Lamour responded with “We looked at the beginnings of the proof and it looked like the scanned letter. Do you read everything that you’ve scanned? Next time we’ll make sure we check every word in there. We had nothing to do with the way the wording was. The damage was done but we feel like we’ve taken care of it. I’m not in the habit of matching up every word in a scanned publication that I paid for. I will now.”
While there are some conflicting reports about whether the Larmour’s were going to bring attention to the erroneous ad or not, Mrs. Larmour claimed “I was in Birney’s office at 8:30 am on Tuesday morning to get this straightened out.” [The Commercial Dispatch was closed Monday because of the July 4th holiday. SF]
It is unclear if Mrs. Larmour went to the Commercial Dispatch before or after the NRA’s liaison called both the Dispatch and the Larmour’s to alert them of the error. Mica stated that she will be contacting the NRA headquarters and letting them take it from there. She maintained that “The important thing is that our position in the race be clarified for our members in that district. I think Jeff Smith deserves some justice too. Especially if they’re going to end up running an ad twice for his opponent.”
The primary election between Larmour and Smith is August 2nd.1