Monday, July 19, 2010

Thompson Implies Coburn Endorsement, Coburn Denies

Endorsements can oftentimes be very influential in contested primaries. Candidates tout the support of prominent figures in campaign material and advertising, seeking to leverage as many votes as possible out of such public statements.

Passing off endorsements that never took place, however, can be very harmful, especially when the public figure denies such an endorsement.

2nd District Republican congressional candidate Charles Thompson has released a mailer that implies an endorsement by U.S. Senator Tom Coburn. We inquired into the matter, and discovered that Coburn has not endorsed in this race, nor any other primary in Oklahoma.

Sen. Coburn issued the following statement today:
"Oklahoma Republicans living in the Second Congressional District are blessed with a field of outstanding candidates.  I am greatly encouraged by the focus of many of these candidates on restoring the constitutional principles that have made this nation the most free and prosperous on earth, and in stopping the spending addiction in Washington. 

Because there has been some confusion over the past few days, however, I want to make clear that I am not endorsing any candidate in this Primary election.   I look forward to seeing the decision that voters make next week and then sitting down with our nominee to discuss the urgent cause we all share."   [emphasis mine]

I spoke with Thompson's campaign consultant, Josh McFarland, who affirmed that the Thompson campaign did not get permission from Coburn to use his picture, and did not dispute that it could appear as an endorsement.

McFarland said that they didn't so much view Coburn as a candidate or a Senator, but "as a movement" that Thompson wanted to identify with. He further stated that "images portray more meaning", speaking of their decision to use the Coburn picture, rather than just using text. The picture of Coburn was placed directly underneath Thompson's endorsements.

It doesn't take much to realize that one should not imply non-existent endorsements, and no campaign manager or consultant should approve such an unethical move. It passes off a false impression, and attributes action to someone who never did what was implied.

Senator Coburn is a very influential figure in Oklahoma politics. Attempting to mislead voters about having a Coburn endorsement is not only wrong, but is unfair to the other candidates in the race as well as the Republican primary voters, not to mention Senator Coburn.

I'm disappointed to see the Thompson campaign express no apology for their actions, and to in fact defend them.

UPDATE: a copy of the mailer is below.


  1. Post a picture of the mailer.

  2. Trying to give the impression that Sen. Coburn is supporting one candidate over the other in a competitive primary race is definitely unethical! Using his picture on a campaign piece without his permission is obviously wrong. Common sense and decency tells you that!

    The campaign consultant's comment that "Pictures portray more meaning" along with the placement of the photo (directly underneath Thomson's endorsements) proves that this was intended to mislead the voters into thinking that Sen. Coburn supports the Charles Thompson campaign. If this tactic is OK - then what else will this guy do and say if actually elected?? Sounds like a character and integrity issue!

  3. It'a like stealing!
    - from Senator Tom Coburn - using his name and picutre to IMPLY something he didn't do!

    - from his opponents - cheating in order to try to win.

    - from the voters - persuading them by using false ideas (implications).

    What makes this guy different from those who are already up in Washington "stealing" from the American people?? We need people with character up there - not more of the same!

    Ann O.

  4. Sounds like he's just another politician. Hope the voters see through this.

  5. I sincerely hope that eyes will be opened to the true character of the canidates before the election rather than after.

  6. I have heard this candidate a couple of times and am not impressed. A vote for him is a vote for Boren since it's obvious Boren can beat him. There are a couple of candidates that have better qualities and character.

  7. Could be that Thompson is just taking evil council. McFarland seems to be "spinning" for the candidates he represents. Maybe they need to reconsider who they have running their campaign.

  8. I'd have to see the piece before passing any judgement on the candidate. It could just be that they're trying to show that they intend to be like Coburn and fight side-by-side with him. Not enough info in this story for me to decide what I think about it. I know that the author of the story is a great guy, but has also endorsed a different candidate, so one must factor in that his bias may be playing into this.


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