The name-calling has started in the 1st Congressional District race, but the barbs aimed at Democrat Alan LaPolice, Clyde, aren’t coming from audience hecklers but from the chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Great Bend.
Brent Robertson, also the top spokesman for the Marshall re-election campaign, called LaPolice “a perennial joke” in an email response to The News last week. In another response this week from Robertson, he tagged LaPolice as “wacky Alan.”
Robertson “should have some decorum,” LaPolice said. “It’s a kind of arrogance that doesn’t belong in public service,” he said.
For Robertson to dismiss him is also dismissing the sizable number of Democrats in the 1st District, LaPolice said.
La Police has challenged Marshall’s use of government-paid town hall travel through the district in August, with Congressional staff members in tow and with government-paid literature handed out that promotes the “promises kept” by this session of Congress. The achievements include passage of the House farm bill, the tax cuts and jobs act, a strengthened economy, and that “ISIS is decimated and on the run.” Other achievements listed are the repeal of Dodd-Frank and the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate and "defended the Second Amendment."
Robertson pointed out that town hall pamphlets are reviewed by the House Ethics Committee to ensure they are not campaigning literature. “I’ve never heard of anyone who thinks that townhall pamphlets are some kind of conspiracy - however, conspiracies are par for the course for wacky Alan,” Robertson wrote The News.
“Dr. Marshall drove 2,500 miles and hosted 19 public town halls in the month of August, a record for Congressmen nationwide,” Robertson wrote.
LaPolice was aware the Marshall campaign has labeled him a joke. This is his third bid for Congress - he ran as a Republican and an independent previously.
LaPolice said Marshall is using the same tactics that brought criticism to former U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler/Hutchinson - avoiding debates and using government-printed pamphlets.
To date, there is one slated debate between Marshall and LaPolice, sponsored in October by KWCH Television in Wichita. Marshall did not debate his Republican primary opponent this summer.
Marshall will “honor that commitment” to the KWCH debate, Robertson wrote, “despite the progressive divisiveness of his opponent.”