Idaho Education News reports today that GOP candidate for state schools Superintendent Sherri Ybarra apparently copied entire sections of her campaign website from Democratic rival Jana Jones, whose campaign website was posted months before Ybarra entered the race. Jones told Idaho EdNews she was “shocked” at the duplications after the news outlet brought them to her attention; Ybarra could not immediately be reached for comment.
EdNews reporter Clark Corbin reported that under the prominent “Join Team Jana” and “Join Team Ybarra” sections of their respective websites, both candidates posted a nearly identical 46-word paragraph about working together to improve education. The identical wording: “It’s going to take a lot of hard work to have the kind of education system we want for Idaho’s kids. … Parents, students, educators, business leaders, elected officials, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, working together to make it happen.”
A solicitation for comments on the two sites also is nearly identical. Jones’ site says, “Use the optional message box to share your thoughts and ideas with her regarding education in Idaho.” Ybarra’s site says, “Use the optional message box to share your thoughts and ideas with us regarding education in Idaho.” EdNews also pointed out similarities in capitalization, placement of exclamation points and more on the two sites.
Jones told Corbin she wrote the passages with her campaign spokesman, Robert Allen, before launching her website Jan. 6. Asked about the duplications, she said, “I wasn’t aware of that, and that’s unbelievable.” It was the second time Ybarra has made news for issues with her campaign website; earlier, she listed former GOP primary rival Randy Jensen as a member of her campaign team, though he said he wasn’t endorsing either candidate in the race. After news reports about that, Ybarra removed Jensen’s name from the site. Corbin’s full report is online here.