Updated with Tuesday's developments
Republican Missouri gubernatorial candidate Dave Spence issued a cease and desist letter to stations broadcasting one of Governor Jay Nixon's campaign ads. The Spence campaign called the ad false and defamatory, saying further broadcasting could lead to lawsuits.
The ad in dispute claims Spence was a banker for a bank that accepted TARP funds. Jared Craighead, Spence's campaign manager, says Spence was only on the board of the St. Louis bank, and he joined after it had voted to accept TARP funds. Craighead also said Spence owned less than one-half of one percent of the bank.
"By analogy, it would be like us running an ad claiming for the iPhone 5, since Dave (Spence) owns stock in Apple," Craighead said.
But the Nixon campaign is standing by the ad.
"He (Spence) is beginning to panic and resort to desperate measures," Oren Shur, Nixon's campaign manager said. “Instead of threatening television stations with lawsuits, Spence would be better advised to simply explain why, after his bank took a $40 million bailout, he felt there was money for his million-dollar insider loan but not money to repay the taxpayers."
The Spence campaign disputes that assertion. Although Spence did vote to delay paying back taxpayers, Spence claims he did so under the suggestion of federal advisors. Craighead also points out that loans are how banks make money.
The Nixon campaign's lawyer also sent a letter to stations Monday, saying "The station is not allowed to censor the candidate's spot in any way. Thus, stations cannot alter or remove a spot containing a candidate's use for any reason."
Spence's campaign said the cease and desist letter was sent to over 20 stations. According to the lawyer that signed Spence's order, no stations have responded that they will stop airing the ad. So far, one station has replied asking for further proof of falsehood.
On Tuesday, Nixon did not step back from the claims in the ad, in fact, his campaign doubled down on them by releasing a new ad titled "Angry." It's the third ad dealing with Spence and the St. Louis bank's bailout and deals with much of the same content as before.
But Nixon isn't alone in releasing a new ad. Spence revealed a new ad Monday called "Choice," in which Spence says Nixon is lying to voters. The ad received some national exposure from the Washington Post for misspelling governor as "governer."
The ad tells viewers to go to SpenceforGoverner.com, a URL that was subsequently bought. It now redirects to a Youtube video of Jay Leno poking fun of Spence.
Spence's ad has since been updated with the proper spelling.
Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter: @csmcdaniel
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