Democratic candidate Kenley Brunsdale is calling incumbent Jim Hansen a liar this week, and he says Hansen has reneged on numerous debates.
Hansen's office, meanwhile, is returning the favor, saying that Brunsdale has "failed to pass the mark of a credible campaign" and demands that Brunsdale "take back" statements made earlier this year that 3,800 Thiokol workers would be laid off.So goes the race lately in Utah's 1st Congressional District, a Republican-rich territory that has bestowed a commanding 59-26 advantage to Hansen, according to an Oct. 7 Deseret News/KSL-TV poll.
Despite the bad showing, Brunsdale refuses to relent in his attacks on Hansen, who, he says, has ignored the issues and continues to lie to the public.
Brunsdale charged Hansen this week with making at least nine "blatantly false statements" during a debate televised locally Sunday.
"Jim Hansen has a record of saying anything to get re-elected," Brunsdale says. "Here is a man who sits on the House Ethics Committee that feels no obligation to tell the truth while campaigning."
The false statements, Brunsdale said, include:
- Hansen's claiming credit for getting money for improvements on U.S. 89 in eastern Davis County.
Brunsdale says it was Sen. Jake Garn who obtained the funding, not Hansen, who bungled the bill by overlooking a step in the legislative authorization process.
- Hansen's denial that he promised to refuse a pay raise.
Although Hansen voted against the recent congressional pay raise, he chose to accept it. The hike raised his salary from $89,500 last year to $96,600 this year and will raise it to $125,000 next year.
But Brunsdale points to a 1980 Hansen newspaper advertisement that reads: "Jim Hansen has never voted himself a pay raise and pledges never to give himself a pay raise at taxpayers' expense."
- Hansen's assertion that poor people are paying less tax now than 10 years ago.
Quoting a Congressional Budget Office report, Brunsdale says the tax rates have increased for the poor and decreased for the rich.
Brunsdale said he is also frustrated with Hansen because he has refused or canceled numerous debates sponsored by local groups.
While Brunsdale lashed out against Hansen, Hansen's campaign manager, Peter Jenks, issued a press release saying that Brunsdale's campaign has been a failure.
Citing the Deseret News/KSL-TV poll, Jenks said Brunsdale's campaign has not been credible because it has failed to capture 30 percent of public support.
"From the outset, Brunsdale's campaign has been marred by mistakes and misinformation," Jenks said, charging the candidate with making "baseless assertions" that 3,800 people will lose jobs at Thiokol and for exaggerating fund-raising claims. "The scare tactics employed by Brunsdale which prey upon the 7,000 Thiokol workers in Utah certainly do not have a place in this campaign. To try to take Thiokol workers down with him in the losing campaign is disturbing and irresponsible."
Jenks also chided Brunsdale for changing his first name during the early campaign to "Ken" and then back to Kenley.
Acknowledging that Brunsdale has been successful in attracting "unprecedented amounts of press coverage," Jenks said, "Clearly, Brunsdale has gotten his message across through the press, but the people of the 1st District just aren't buying it."