‘Highly inappropriate’ postcard not from GOP, Porter County chairman says
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent May 9, 2014 7:34PM
Michael Simpson of Valparaiso, Porter County Republican party chairman
Updated: June 11, 2014 6:12AM
VALPARAISO — The Porter County Republican Party is fighting back against a postcard being distributed against Kathy Kozuszek, the Democratic candidate for county clerk, which the chairman of the county’s Republican Party said has been attributed to his group.
Michael Simpson, the Republican party chairman, said incumbent clerk Karen Martin, who is seeking another term on the Republican ballot in November, is “shocked and appalled” by the postcard, which is being distributed by the Northwest Indiana Political Action Committee.
“I’m working with party officials, including state officials, to determine if this PAC is legit,” Simpson said Friday.
The postcard depicts a woman in tight jeans, and a man reaching toward her buttocks. It reads, “Don’t get rubbed the wrong way. Re-elect Karen Martin for clerk.”
“We don’t do that. We don’t behave that way, and I know (Democrats) don’t, either,” Simpson said, adding he is reaching out to Kozuszek to assure her the postcard did not come from his party. “It’s highly inappropriate.”
Scott Smith, chairman of the PAC and a Democrat, said in an email response to the Post-Tribune that the postcard “was not authorized by Karen Martin.”
He added he’s only sent out about 40 of the postcards; on the PAC’s website, he requests donations for postcard-rate stamps and the mailing list for voters who registered as Democrats in the primary.
“As for my motives for sending the smear ad,” Smith said in the email, “Kathy has been disparaging the incumbent clerk for simply doing her job. I can’t ethically let Kathy get away with disparaging someone for doing her job.”
He noted two incidents in the past few months when Martin and Kozuszek have clashed, including establishing a site for early voting in Valparaiso and Martin changing the locks in the Voter Registration Office, where Kozuszek is the Democratic chairwoman, after Kozuszek said someone was rifling through her desk.
Simpson said the postcard was distributed at a recent event and attributed to his party, which he called “an outright lie.”
“Porter County Republicans, and I believe Democrats, believe in spirited campaigning that is fair and truthful. This kind of gutter politics has no place,” he said.