The problem with bluffing is that if you're called on it, you can end up looking pretty stupid. And we're calling out Lakewood Democrat Tom Bullock, a candidate for a House seat in state District 13, for misrepresenting news articles in a campaign mailer that attacks his opponent in the May 4 primary.
Bullock, in the mailer sent out to West side voters last week, pats himself on the back for having "stood up to the [Democratic] party bosses and called on Jimmy Dimora to resign." To back up this claim, he cites a June 2009 Scene article (“Thanks a lot, Jimmy”), which quoted Bullock as saying, ""The realm is ill when the king is ill. How do you renew the realm? You need a new king."
So far, so good. But the eager young Bullock didn't trust voters to get it, so he cited the same article as the source for his claim that opponent Nickie Antonio "stands with party bosses in opposing the county government reform effort." But the article did not quote or even mention Antonio.
“It’s a total smear job done with the assumption that people won’t dig any deeper,” says Antonio. “It’s an attack on my integrity with no cause.”
Bullock disagrees that his mailer takes liberties with the facts. He describes the reference to Scene as an "incomplete citation." We're not sure what that's supposed to mean — unless it's an admission that he should have added a disclaimer, something like, "Article may not actually state anything of the sort."
But wait, it gets worse. Bullock's mailer also cites a Plain Dealer report from March 18 which, as far as we can tell, doesn't even exist.
Bullock's mailer also claims that he has “pushed for tough new campaign finance reform in Lakewood.” It does not mention that he introduced the proposal on April 5 — a day or two before the mailer arrived in voters' homes. “That’s appalling,” says Antonio. “One could question: was [Bullock’s proposal] really because of reform, or was this done so that he could have one more thing on his piece of literature?”
At the very least, it's an incomplete citation. And, amusingly, campaign fodder for Antonio, who promptly fired off an e-mail titled, "I have been attacked by Tom Bullock — I need your help!"
Bullock paints himself as a political reformer and if given the chance, will talk your ear off about how his local party needs fresh leaders. We couldn't agree more. But deception is deception, even when good guys do it. — Damian Guevara