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The Oregonian withdraws its endorsement of David Edwards in District 30
· Oct 16, 01:15 PM by Everett Curry ·

A dirty trick in a Hillsboro House race Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Politics, sadly, is often an ugly game. The influence of political
action committees, attack advertising and dirty tricks turns too many races into mud-splattering exercises that overshadow candidates, obscure issues and turn off voters.

That this is happening in the race for House District 30, where two newcomers are vying to replace outgoing Hillsboro Republican Derrick Kitts, is not shocking. But that campaign offers a disturbing twist that leads us to reconsider the race and withdraw our endorsement of a candidate.

As a result of an episode that became public last week, we now urge District 30 voters to send the Republican, Everett Curry, to Salem, instead of his Democratic opponent, David Edwards. It was a close call to begin with, and new evidence tips the balance in Curry’s favor.

Since neither candidate has a record in Salem and both are making their first runs, we are left to make editorial recommendations based on what they say and on what we see of their campaigns. And we think the Edwards campaign crossed a line it shouldn’t have crossed.

In early August, Edwards’ campaign manager, 24-year-old Seth Prickett, sent Curry an e-mail under false pretenses, using the name “Jake,” asking for the Republican’s views on taxes, immigration and abortion, and asking, “Are you a minister?” Edwards’ anger over Prickett’s e-mail misrepresentations led him to consider firing Prickett as campaign manager.

Prickett knew Curry personally. After Curry discovered the deception, Prickett apologized and he and Curry met for coffee. Curry said he didn’t want to cost Prickett his job but didn’t want to see a continuing pattern of deceptive campaigning. Both Curry and Prickett said they hoped the matter was settled.

As Curry appeared to be forgiving of Prickett’s transgression, Edwards decided to let Prickett stay on the job. Until this week, he hasn’t issued any statements about his campaign manager’s behavior, nor has he spoken to Curry about it.

Edwards is aggrieved now, he says, that the seven-week-old incident has popped into view and insists he is the one being smeared by being portrayed as an intolerant Democrat. Nobody would have known about the situation if not for research last week by David Reinhard, an associate editor and columnist for The Oregonian. Reinhard wrote Sunday about his own concerns that Curry’s religious background was being used against him.

We aren’t troubled about Curry’s work as a preacher, nor are we moved by Edwards’ complaints that religion is being used inappropriately as a weapon in this campaign. But we do care about honesty in public life. Its importance was illustrated recently with the disclosure that Kitts, the very man Curry and Edwards seek to replace in Salem, failed to file a report on his trip to Hawaii at the expense of the beer and wine lobby. And the problem with obtaining information under false pretenses was underlined when “pretexting” brought down the chairwoman of Hewlett-Packard’s board of directors.

We think the Edwards campaign took a critical wrong turn, while Curry has conducted himself honorably. Curry has our support.

[Statement by The OREGONIAN, published on Wednesday, October 4, 2006, page B6, Copyright, The Oregonian]

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