New ad campaign stirs up controversy in 5th Congressional District race

New ad campaign stirs up controversy in 5th Congressional District race

A new ad campaign paid for by Cathy McMorris Rodgers for U.S. Congress calls opponent Lisa Brown “dangerous” and it’s making some waves throughout Spokane.

A television ad from McMorris Rodgers’ office says Lisa Brown is “dangerously liberal” and proposed ending supervision of felony sex offenders, including Donnie Lee Fisher, a level three sex offender.

According to OffenderRadar, Fisher’s offenses include communication with a minor for immoral purposes and attempted voyeurism, tracing back to 2003.

The Republican congresswoman says in a mailer ad Brown voted to release felony sex offenders from supervision and voted against a bill preventing sex offenders from living near schools during her time in the state senate. On the opposite side of the mailer ad, a figure wearing a black hoodie is shown watching a young girl swinging on a tree branch. The ad is paired with the phrase “We need to watch out for her. Because if we don’t, he will.”

An open letter to McMorris Rodgers has gained over 100 signatures and is urging McMorris Rodgers to stop the ads and apologize to Brown. The letter states the ad campaign “promote[s] a provocative, fearful image.”

Susan Hammond is a retired mental health nurse with 30 years of experience. Hammond said she couldn’t comment on Brown’s record, but that the ads are harmful to kids in the community.

“It re-triggers kids that have been attacked and it has false information. Children are not attacked by scary men in hoodies hiding in bushes while they play,” Hammond said. “They are sexually attacked by people they know.”

Brown’s campaign told KXLY4 was the prime sponsor of a bill that made it illegal to solicit a minor online. Campaign manager Jack Sorenson said Brown’s votes have been taken out of context — that language in one bill was unclear and that Brown never voted against supervision of sex offenders.

McMorris Rodgers’ campaign did not comment on the ad campaign directly, but pointed KXLY4 in the direction of Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich. Knezovich said Brown cut funding from the Department of Corrections, which in turn reduced supervision of sex offenders.

As the ads air, Hammond is ready to continue to voice her concerns.

“It’s just wrong. It’s not good for Spokane, it’s not good for our community,” Hammond said. “I think maybe the best thing to come out of this is that we’ll have more informed conversations.”