Paper ties attack ad to Republican Party official

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Photo Credit: jgroup

The guy behind an attack ad demanding that Augusta County Sheriff Donald Smith “answer questions or immediately resign” isn’t answering questions.

Ironic, ain’t it.

The News Leader has the story about the ad that it ran last week, and how it tracked down the source of the ad to a PAC calling itself “Keep Augusta Great.”

Not surprisingly, given the name, it tracks back to a guy who is vice chair of the Augusta County Republican Committee, because of course it does.

A review of available public records has Scott Cline as the only local person associated with Keep Augusta Great.

Odd tidbit to pass on: the reporter had to track down this information without the help of the advertising department. The story on the Leader website includes mumbo-jumbo about the editorial and advertising departments being kept separate.

The paper published a note the day after the ad ran indicating that it should have been published because it violated the paper’s standards.

Maybe if somebody in the advertising department had run it by the folks who know what those standards are …

Never mind.

Donald Smith is an independent. He’s being challenged by, you guessed it, a Republican, Neil Kester.

There’s nothing tying Kester to the ad, but nothing has to.

A higher-up in the local Republican Party paid to place an ad in the paper that echoes an anonymous attack video aimed at the sheriff.

This would be a case study in shady politics, if it wasn’t also a better case study in bumbling politics.

Column by Chris Graham

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