Democratic mayoral candidate Ron Kim has sent out a fundraising email (see full text below) that contains some disturbing inaccuracies delivered in a problematic tone.
The email bases its appeal for donations on the alleged threat to Saratoga Springs that his opponent, Heidi Owen West, supposedly poses to the city.
It begins with this ominous warning:
“The January 6 insurrection was 410 miles away in Washington DC but the danger it presented exists right here in Saratoga Springs.”
“Did you know that members of the Saratoga County GOP organized buses of rioters to travel to the January 6 insurrection?“
“Did you know that tonight the same group is holding a fundraiser for my opponent, the GOP candidate for mayor Heidi [Owen] West?”
This was simply not true.
First of all, let’s put aside the question of whether the travelers went to Washington with the intent of rioting in the capital. While there were buses that went to Washington in January from this area, they were organized by a group called the Upstate Conservative Coalition (UCC).
I am sure that there were registered Republicans among the travelers, but the group that organized the trip was not the city or county GOP.
Most importantly the UCC had nothing to do with Ms. Owen West’s fundraiser. In fact, while the county Republican Party promoted the event on their Facebook page, Ms. Owen West organized the fundraiser herself, independent of any group. While she is the Republican endorsed candidate for mayor, she is a registered independent voter.
Mr. Kim’s letter then claims the following:
“The GOP is spreading its anti-democracy misinformation and lies -all to the detriment of our city and our way of life here in Saratoga Springs.“
Without indicating exactly what misinformation and lies he thinks the GOP is spreading here, he is clearly trying to have the reader associate Ms. Owen West with this alleged threat to “our way of life here in Saratoga Springs”.
While I understand that Mr. Kim’s email is meant to motivate people to send him money, I find his intemperate appeal to fear quite disturbing. In fact, this appeal for money seems to me to mirror the very tactics of spreading misinformation that he attributes to the GOP.
This approach also seems seems politically foolish. The number of enrolled Democrats now exceeds the number of enrolled Republicans in this city. That means Mr. Kim is not the underdog in this race. Why send out a message so clearly based on inaccuracies? It not only damages his credibility but also provides fodder to his opponents.
This city is fortunate to have a highly involved citizenry that I suspect will not react favorably to this kind of over the top campaign tactic.
I reached out to Ms. Owen West. Here is her response:
I am not being funded by any political party. I’m a political independent who is solely being funded by a groundswell of people of all political persuasions.
I’m incredibly humbled by the Saratogians who joined me at my kickoff fundraiser earlier this week because they believe in my ability to deliver on the issues that matter the most to our community.Heidi Owen West
This is the full text of Mr. Kim’s fundraising appeal.
The January 6 insurrection was 410 miles away in Washington DC but the danger it presented exists right here in Saratoga Springs.
Did you know that members of the Saratoga County GOP organized buses of rioters to travel to the January 6insurrection?
Did you know that tonight the same group is holding a fundraiser for my opponent, the GOP candidate for mayor Heidi West?
The GOP is spreading its anti-democracy misinformation and lies -all to the detriment of our city and our way of life here in Saratoga Springs.
Before midnight tomorrow, we must raise $15,000 because we cannot allow the GOP to out-raise us and out-spend us.
I am Ron Kim, an experienced and proven leader with the ability to tackle the tough issues facing our City. As the mayor of Saratoga Springs, on day one, I will work to bring transparency, accountability, and accessibility back to City Hall.