Reineke campaign misquotes Blade in attack ad targeting Ackison

COLUMBUS — He accuses his opponent of lying to voters, but it is the Ohio Senate campaign of current Rep. Bill Reineke (R., Tiffin) that misrepresented reporting from The Blade in a mailer sent to GOP voters.

The mailer, paid for by Friends of Bill Reineke, manufactures a headline within quotation marks as it seeks to steer readers to a critical website run by his campaign, but actually bearing opponent Melissa Ackison's name.

Beneath a reproduction of The Blade's banner dated Feb. 10, the mailer attributes to the newspaper the words “Ackison Defies Trump, Lies to Ohio Voters.” On that day, a story appeared on toledoblade.com that was headlined “Trump demands removal of photos in Ohio Senate race.” The same story appeared in the eBlade — the newspaper’s e-delivered edition — and on the Blade NewsSlide app on Feb. 11.

The language contained in the mailer did not appear in any versions of the article.

When reached for comment Tuesday, the Reineke campaign pledged not to use the mailer or use quotes attributed to The Blade in the future.

Despite being in quotation marks, Mr. Reineke's campaign said it never intended to present the phrase as a direct quote.

“Our mailer was paraphrasing the content of the article from [The Blade],” campaign spokesman Caleb Stidham said. “The Trump campaign sent Ackison a cease-and-desist letter demanding she stop lying to voters about her association with the President, and she is defying the Trump campaign demand. We provide The Blade article unedited in its entirety on MelissaAckison.com, the website listed on the mail piece.”

Mr. Reineke, owner of multiple auto dealerships, and Ms. Ackison, a Marysville business person and former candidate for the U.S. Senate, are seeking the Republican nomination for the 26th Senate District on March 17.

The mostly rural, Republican-friendly district stretches from the Marysville area outside Columbus north to Sandusky Bay, incorporating seven counties, including Sandusky and Seneca.

The sitting state representative has the official backing of the Ohio Republican Party in the race.

“Bill Reineke's campaign has been fueled by anger and half-truths this entire race,” Ms. Ackison said. “District 26 deserves so much more. This is a direct indictment of his capability to effectively serve them in the Ohio Senate. I personally apologize to the Republican voters in the district who've had to read these hateful, false, and malicious lies.

 

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