UPDATED AT 4:53 TO INCLUDE RESPONSE FROM PARKS.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee yesterday posted on its website this attack mailer against independent candidate Linda Parks in the 26th Congressional District.
As you can see, it's a fairly heavy-handed piece that seeks to link Parks with "Washington Republicans" and urges Democrats to "stop the Tea Party. Vote No on Linda Parks and the Republicans." It features campaign buttons that show her paired with George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin.
A spokeswoman for the DCCC said Tuesday that the piece is in the mail, but I have received no reports as yet from anyone in the district who has received it.
The assertion that "Parks and the Washington Republicans would end Medicare as we know it" is based on the House Republican-backed budget written by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin that includes a provision for optional Medicare vouchers that would alter the way in which seniors receive health insurance. The linkage to Parks is based on Democrats' assertion that she has refused on at least two occasions to publicly say whether she opposes the Ryan budget. They note she has responded by saying it is not going to pass and is thus a "moot point."
In that same exchange on Facebook, however, Parks also asserted the view that "the Ryan Budget, among other things, would leave vulnerable senior citizens without health care." When I asked her today if she considered that to be a condemnation, Parks asked, "Do you think that's a good thing to leave vulnerable senior citizens without healthcare?"
In addition to questioing her position on the Ryan budget, Democrats are also reminding voters of the fact that until filing to run for Congress Parks was registered as a Republican voter.
That fact underscores one of Parks' big challenges: As she seeks to attract some Democratic votes, she will be hard-pressed to explain to Democratic partisans why she was a registered Republican during the Bush administration and during the McCain-Palin campaign.
Parks' challenge as an independent candidate is two-sided. If she were more strongly renounce the Ryan budget, she would risk alienating some Republican voters she hopes to attract.
Parks points out that in position papers on her campaign website, she states: "Our nation needs common-sense healthcare reform that puts patients first, protects Medicare, improves access, lowers costs, and strives for quality care." Elsewhere on the site she writes, "Protecting Social Security and Medicare is critical to more seniors now than ever."
The mailer and other DCCC activity clearly show that Democrats consider Parks, not Republican Tony Strickland, to be their biggest target in the primary. As mentioned in a previous post, the committee has posted an 80-page research report on Parks on its website, along with "raw video" of Parks captured at various public events.
The likely reason for making this material available online is that it makes it accessible for any independent expenditure group or Super PAC to use in the event they want to put together their own TV ads or mailers attacking Parks.