Midterm Snapshot

No matter what the voters say tomorrow, Paul DeGroot is taking his case to court.

The Republican candidate in CD-11 has filed a defamation suit against opponent Mikie Sherrill and her campaign.  His claim is that Team Sherrill continues to run campaign ads that are false. The suit puts it this way:

“These defendants have spent millions of dollars to falsely accuse the plaintiff of favoring (a) law which bans abortion in the case of rape, incest and when a woman’s life is in danger.”

DeGroot says he is pro-choice, but doesn’t support congressional action to supersede state laws that ban abortion outright, although he would support federal action to guarantee exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.

Still, his opposition to fully superseding state abortion bans is what has given Sherrill an opening for her ads.

Here’s a larger point.

It is very, very difficult – almost impossible, in fact – to prevail in a defamation suit over campaign ads or literature. There’s also a legitimate question if a “false ad” in itself constitutes defamation. No matter, the suit’s been filed in state Superior Court, Morristown, so we will see what happens.

About those endorsements 

I have never thought all that much about candidate endorsements.

Usually it means that the candidate being endorsed is guaranteed one vote – that being the endorser’s. Sometimes it doesn’t even mean that.

Tulsi Gabbard, a former Democratic presidential candidate from Hawaii, has endorsed Republican Bob Healey in CD-3. 

Healey called it a “personal honor,” adding that Gabbard “personifies the independent, strong voice that our district deserves, but has not had over the last four years.”

Maybe.

Close followers of politics will remember some of Gabbard tweets over Ukraine that seemed to tilt toward Russia. For example, she faulted the Biden Administration and NATO for not recognizing Russia’s legitimate security concerns. This, of course, was Russia’s justification for its brutal invasion.

Back in CD-11, DeGroot in the waning days of the campaign has been endorsed by Joseph Biasco who is on the ballot as a Libertarian.

The following is taken from Biasco’s campaign web page.

“When a sitting president is removed via massive fraud with no recourse, it is time for action. When our government forces poison vaccines onto people, injuring and killing them, it is time for action.”

That somewhat irrational  message is far from the message DeGroot has espoused the entire campaign, but all support, one supposes, is worth having,

As for CD-5, Josh Gottheimer rallied over the weekend with Bill Clinton.

That prompted the campaign of his opponent, Frank Pallotta, to get a bit creative.

It is trumpeting a robocall on his behalf by Juanita Broaddrick, who long has claimed that Clinton sexually assaulted her.

“While Josh welcomes a disgraced former president to boost his struggling campaign, we continue to count on hardworking (CD-5) voters to get us across the finish line,” Pallotta said on his campaign Facebook page.

One has to observe that if Clinton is a “disgraced former president,” what does that make Donald Trump? After all, Clinton was only impeached once.

By the way, do people really listen to robocalls?

Last but not least, we come to CD-7.

Incumbent Tom Malinowski popped up on CNN this morning.

As he has done numerous times on the campaign trail, he spoke of the incredible energy of his volunteers – people making phone calls and going door-to-door on his behalf.

“I think I’m going to win,” he said.

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2 responses to “Midterm Snapshot”

  1. SCHATZ v. REPUBLICAN STATE LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE

    669 F. 3d 50, 53 (1sr Cir. 2012), Decided February 10, 2012

    Honorable Ojetta Rogeriee Thompson, Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals:

    Campaigning for public office sometimes has the feel of a contact sport, with candidates, political organizations, and others trading rhetorical jabs and sound-bite attacks in hopes of landing a knockout blow at the polls. It is not for the thin-skinned or the faint-hearted, to use two apropos clichés. And because political speech is the life-breath of democracy, the First Amendment—applied to the states via the Fourteenth—bars public figures from recovering damages under state defamation laws unless they show that the defamer acted with “actual malice,” legalese that might suggest ill will or evil motive to the uninitiated but really means knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard for the truth.

    * * * * *

    All this makes it quite obvious that defamation law does not require that combatants for public office act like war-time neutrals, treating everyone evenhandedly and always taking the high road. Quite the contrary. Provided that they do not act with actual malice, they can badmouth their opponents, hammering them with unfair and one-sided attacks—remember, speaking out on political issues, especially criticizing public officials and hopefuls for public office, is a core freedom protected by the First Amendment and probably presents “the strongest case” for applying “the New York Times rule.” (New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, , 84 S.Ct. 710, 11 L.Ed.2d 686 (1964). And absent actual malice, more speech, not damages, is the right strike-back against superheated or false rhetoric.

    Today’s appeal—targeting speech critical of a candidate’s performance in public office and challenging the dismissal of his defamation-based complaint for failure to state a claim—brings these principles into bold relief.”

  2. I am Joseph Biasco and I would be more than willing to discuss and debate in what way were my statements “irrational” .
    Unfortunately that is the “modus operandi” for the Fake News . Label , disparage and then hide in lieu of actual discourse .

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