The national debate about whether down-ticket republicans should stand by Donald Trump following comments he made 11 years ago about groping women has trickled into the race for a House seat in Spokane County's 6th Legislative District.
On Monday, Democrat Lynnette Vehrs, called for her Republican opponent Mike Volz to “denounce the words and actions of Donald Trump and withdraw his support for the Republican nominee.”
Her press release went on to say,
“Lynnette Vehrs is posing the question to her opponent ‘Do you condone the words and actions of Donald Trump, and how can you continue to stand by him?’ and she encourages our community to ask the same of all local candidates. Vehrs believes these comments by Trump are symptomatic of a growing problem in our country. The dismissal of women’s basic rights and cavalier attitude towards sexual assault cannot be tolerated.”
Volz responded, also in a press release. “As a husband and father of two daughters, I am deeply concerned by the inappropriate comments made by Mr. Trump.” But he didn’t withdraw his support, or denounce the Republican presidential nominee. Instead, he claimed Vehrs was using the issue as a distraction.
“It is clear that my opponent would rather talk about national issues beyond our control rather her position to raise taxes, increase government spending and expand Obamacare.”
Verhs' release comes after a number of prominent Republican lawmakers denounced Trump and withdrew their support, including Idaho U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo. However, other Republicans, including Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers have not withdrawn their support.
Verhs is a retired nurse and the chair of the Legislative and Health Policy Council of the Washington State Nurses Association. Volz is the current chief deputy treasurer for Spokane County. Verhs has raised about $85,000. Volz has raised just over $45,000.
The 6th Legislative District, which includes parts of north Spokane, the South Hill and the West Plains, has leaned Republican in recent elections, but is the closest thing to a swing district in the Spokane area. Democrats won 6th District seats in 2006 and 2008, when Democrats did well across the board.
Correction: The original version of this post had the wrong attached image. The mistake has been corrected.
Mike Volz's full statement:
I believe that the campaign for the sixth legislative district should be focused on our community. I have run my campaign discussing the issues and stark differences between myself and my opponent. I will continue to focus on jobs, the economy, education and the betterment of our state, region and community rather than the shortcomings of the presidential candidates.
As a husband and father of two daughters, I am deeply concerned by the inappropriate comments made by Mr. Trump.
It is clear that my opponent would rather talk about national issues beyond our control rather her position to raise taxes, increase government spending and expand Obamacare.
Lynnette Verhs' full statement:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
6th Legislative District: Vehrs calls on local Republicans to denounce Trump.
Spokane, Washington- 11 October 2016
Lynnette Vehrs, candidate for State House of Representatives in the 6th Legislative District has called on her opponent Mike Volz to denounce the words and actions of Donald Trump and withdraw his support for the Republican nominee.
“These comments from the Republican nominee are disgusting and unacceptable” said Vehrs in a Facebook post over the weekend. In the same post she went on to say that Volz should withdraw his support for Trump immediately. Volz has made it this far in the campaign without making any statements on the Trump campaign, but his own Facebook account shows that he both follows the Trump campaign and belongs to a group “Donald J Trump for Washington State”. Lynnette Vehrs understands the seriousness of Trump’s comments, having been a registered nurse for 40 years, she has seen the effects of sexual assault firsthand and knows that it is no laughing matter.
It has been a staple of the Vehrs campaign that she will fight to protect the reproductive rights of women, while Volz has said on multiple platforms including Matt Shea’s Patriot Radio that he would vote to defund abortion in the state of Washington and is in favor of allowing employers to deny women their right to contraceptive coverage. Vehrs stands firmly opposed to these positions and sees a connection between the narrative of the Republican nominee and her opponent. The Far-Right movement that has taken over the Republican party has shifted the conversation from important issues to attacks on the basic rights of women in our country. Vehrs, a Democrat, has stood against this far-right movement, as have many moderate Republicans. However, Volz has yet to withdraw support for Donald Trump, or even denounce his recently surfaced comments. Volz has shown that he answers to the far-right wing Republican party first. As a legislator, Lynnette Vehrs will always answer to the people of the 6th district first.
Lynnette Vehrs is posing the question to her opponent “Do you condone the words and actions of Donald Trump, and how can you continue to stand by him?” and she encourages our community to ask the same of all local candidates. Vehrs believes these comments by Trump are symptomatic of a growing problem in our country. The dismissal of women’s basic rights and cavalier attitude towards sexual assault cannot be tolerated.
Friends to Elect Lynnette Vehrs