The Leonard campaign has curiously not posted their attack ad anywhere online, nor have I found it from anyone else. As I rarely watch television, I have not seen the ad, but have heard about it from several people, including disappointed Leonard supporters.
The Pruitt campaign issued the following press release today.
Pruitt Campaign Calls on Ryan Leonard to Pull False Ad
Among other errors, research for Leonard’s commercial appears to have neglected to search for cases involving “E. Scott Pruitt or Edward Scott Pruitt”
The Scott Pruitt for Attorney General campaign today called upon his opponent to pull a factually incorrect advertisement which is also the first negative advertisement of the campaign. The campaign also indicated it expects to send a “cease and desist” letter to television stations airing the advertisement due to it containing factual inaccuracies.
“Scott has known his opponent for quite some time, and it saddens him that Ryan has proven himself to be just like any other politician that wants the job so badly that he will spread half-truths and commit lies of omission,” stated Tyler Laughlin, campaign manager for the Pruitt for Attorney General Campaign.
“The truth is Scott has been a leading advocate when it comes to constitutional issues. Scott has accepted invitations to speak to different entities of the Southern Baptist Convention about constitutional issues such as church-state relations in cities like Atlanta, Asheville and other places across the country. Scott was the author of landmark legislation such as the Religious Freedom Act, been the lawyer on numerous cases protecting the constitutional rights of individuals, and has regularly been the lawyer handling constitutional cases referred by the respected Rutherford Institute” Laughlin continued.
“The Leonard campaign says in the ad, quote ‘Advertises himself as a constitutional lawyer. But official Oklahoma records show that he's never tried a case’ unquote,” said Laughlin. One need look no further than Oklahoma’s Western District Federal Court records to find New Lima Independent School Dist. v. Warrington, et. al, -- where Scott was co-counsel on a Constitutional case involving First Amendment rights which went to trial. Going to trial in a constitutional case is rare, and Scott has litigated other constitutional cases in federal court where he has protected the rights of Oklahomans,” Laughlin continued.
“A quick search of state and federal court records for ‘Edward Scott Pruitt’ or ‘E. Scott Pruitt’ will reveal cases in the western, northern and eastern districts of the Oklahoma Federal Court system and the Oklahoma State Supreme Court as well as multiple District Court appearances across the state of Oklahoma. In fact, Scott’s involvement in Sharp v. Tulsa County Election Board, which went before the Oklahoma State Supreme Court and was related to constitutional issues such as ballot access and suffrage, was published by West Law,” Laughlin stated.
“One of the more outrageous claims in the ad comes from the Leonard campaign essentially quoting itself and attributing it to the Tulsa World. The quote from the Tulsa World does not make a judgment on the experience of Scott Pruitt. The lie of omission is that the start of the quote is ‘Critics say.’ This alone should require the Leonard campaign to remove the ad,” stated Tyler Laughlin, campaign manager for the Pruitt for Attorney General Campaign.
Candidate Scott Pruitt, issued the following statement in response to the Leonard ad: “The simple fact is, we need an Attorney General that knows how to fight the reach of the federal government. I’ve been doing that since the first day I got out of law school and initially opened Christian Legal Services, Inc. I have successfully defended the rights of individuals to practice their faith when government tries to tell them ‘no’. I have advised teachers, public school students and homeschoolers when they have been under attack. I’ve helped teens ‘rally around the flagpole’ and pray at school when others have said they can’t, and I want to fight that same fight for the people of Oklahoma.”
If I can find a copy of the Leonard ad, I will try to post it.
It's a shame that Ryan Leonard felt the need to go negative. If it, in fact, turns out that his ad was false, that could be devastating to his campaign.
As I have said about the gubernatorial race, I intensely dislike campaigns that go negative, especially if their attacks are inaccurate or deceptive. I'm very disappointed in Leonard.