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Ad Watch: Mix-up in Shea mailer

Sun., Nov. 4, 2012

State Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane, mailed a new ad to voters late last week that sharply criticizes media coverage of him and misrepresents his and his opponent’s positions on key issues.

The race between Shea and Democrat Amy Biviano has become one of the most watched in the region, in part because of Shea’s misdemeanor gun charge for possessing a gun in his car without a valid concealed weapons permit and Biviano’s appearance in the “Women of the Ivy League” edition of Playboy magazine when she was a student at Yale University 17 years ago.

In his new ad, Shea says, “It’s too bad that we can’t talk about the issues anymore,” then questions a Spokesman-Review editorial that called Biviano’s appearance in Playboy “a triviality.”

“This was one of the top stories nationally for several days,” Shea says in the mailer. “This is an insult to the families of my district who consider what she did a serious affront to family values.”

Biviano said she wasn’t concerned about Shea’s criticism.

“I think it’s a bit hypocritical, but whatever,” she said, while taking a break from calling voters on Saturday.

Shea did not return a call seeking comment.

Here’s a look at a couple of the claims made in the mailer:

Claim: In a chart comparing Shea’s positions with Biviano’s, Shea “supports” gun control and “opposes” the two-thirds requirement to raise taxes.

Ruling: False, accidentally.

Analysis: Gun rights and lowering taxes are two of Shea’s main pillars. Shea has declined to return our calls throughout the election season, but we’re betting this is an accidental error.

Claim: In the same chart, Shea claims that Biviano “supports” a state income tax, “opposes” gun control and “supports” the two-thirds requirement to raise taxes.

Ruling: False, true and false.

Analysis: Shea attributes Biviano’s position on an income tax to a voters’ guide printed by a liberal organization, but that guide says nothing about Biviano’s position on an income tax, and Biviano has consistently said during her campaign that she opposes implementation of one. Biviano’s stance on gun control is that she wants no further restrictions on firearms, so we’ll agree that she “opposes” gun control (though we’re not sure that’s what Shea meant to say). Biviano opposes the two-thirds requirement to raise taxes.

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