The race for mayor took another negative turn this week with a national Republican advocacy organization debuting TV and radio ads against candidate Richard Skorman.
The ads by Americans for Prosperity portray Skorman as a tax-and-spend-liberal whose policies would kill jobs in Colorado Springs and hurt working families with higher taxes.
“Call Richard Skorman and tell him liberal policies kill jobs and are bad for Colorado Springs,” states the ad, which uses the word “liberal” four times in 30 seconds.
Skorman fired back Wednesday.
But rather than criticize the statements in the ad, Skorman went after the source, claiming that Americans for Prosperity has “suspiciously close ties” to opponent Steve Bach.
“The Bach campaign must come clean about its role in running these negative ads,” Skorman said in a statement. “Steve Bach should speak out now to keep secret, out-of-state interests from influencing a Colorado Springs election.”
The Skorman campaign is claiming that Bach is connected to the organization because his chief of staff, Laura Carno, is a producer of the Jeff CrankRadio Show on KVOR. Crank, a staunch conservative, is the state director of Americans for Prosperity.
In addition, the Skorman campaign dug up information suggesting that Carno worked for the organization, including a blog post by the National Taxpayers Union that identified Carno as a representative of Americans for Prosperity at a press conference last year.
Carno said the Skorman campaign misinterpreted the information it found online.
Carno said she’s never worked for the organization but that she attended the July 2010 press conference as a favor to Crank, who had to go out of town.
“That was an uncompensated volunteer effort for AFP, and it was well, well before I even met Steve Bach,” she said.
Carno said she believes she signed her name on the organization’s website.
“Maybe I signed a petition for something,” she said. “I don’t remember.”
But Carno said neither she nor Bach had anything to do with the ads.
“I understand how they’re trying to circumstantially put that together, but the fact remains there is zero coordination between our campaign and whatever Americans for Prosperity is doing,” she said. “I didn’t even know the ads were going out until they were on.”
While Carno is a producer of Crank’s radio show, she said she hasn’t been involved in any mayoral news and that she took a leave of absence after the April 5 election.
“I never thought to update my LinkedIn page to reflect that,” she said, referring to the social networking site. “I’ve been busy.”
Crank said “it’s telling” that the Skorman campaign doesn’t seem to be questioning any statements in the ad.
“The effort that we put into sourcing that ad, making sure that it was accurate and true, is the same effort that we put into making sure that we have done everything to the letter of the law,” Crank said.
“They’re wrong on their facts,” he said.
Crank took full responsibility for the ads and said that neither Carno nor Bach had anything to do with them.