- A Cathy McMorris Rodgers campaign mailer.
Since the 2016 election, a common theme in Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers' message has been one of civility.
"After such a tense election cycle, we can't ignore how divided we've become and how, as a nation, we can and must heal," the congresswoman wrote in a 2017 op-ed for Time magazine.
Yet a recent mass mailer and television ad campaign has her Democratic opponent, Lisa Brown accusing McMorris Rodgers of resorting to "scare tactics" and distorting Brown's voting record as a state senator.
The ad campaign has seized on Brown's vote against a bill in 1996 that would have prohibited convicted sex offenders from living near schools and accuses her of "proposing ending ... the supervision of sex offenders," in 2011.
- Cathy McMorris Rodgers
One mailer calls Brown, "not just liberal... DANGEROUS." In another is the image of a young girl hanging from a tree branch as a hoodied predator lurks nearby. "We need to watch out for her," the text reads. "Because if we don't, HE WILL."
The same tactic was used by John Moyer in 1996, when Brown challenged his state Senate seat.
"When this attack appeared in 1996, Lisa called it a 'new low in political campaigning in Spokane," Brown spokesman Jack Sorensen says in a statement. "Twenty-two years later and it's a new low in campaigning in the 5th Congressional District."
And while some law enforcement groups indeed raised concerns that a 2011 bill Brown voted for would end supervision early for some sex offenders, Sorensen notes today that the final version she supported specifically required that sex offenders continue to be supervised. A spokesman for McMorris Rodgers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Brown counters the claims made in McMorris Rodgers' ads, saying she voted against one bill because the housing restrictions did not include preschools or child-care facilities.
In 2005, Brown voted in favor of a law, which remains intact today, that established an 880-foot buffer between sex offenders' residences and public and private school grounds.