Low politics as congressman linked to child molester in TV ad run by rival
- House Republicans Release TV Ad Linking Democratic Rep. David Cicilline to Child Abuser, Killer and Predator
- Cicilline worked as a defense attorney twenty years ago, defending hardened criminals.
- Ad Designed to Boost Republican Challenger Brendan Doherty, Former State Police Chief, in His First Run for Office
What do a child molester, a murderer and a predator have in common?
Democratic Rep. David Cicilline, according to House Republicans who this week ran a television ad in Rhode Island linking them.
The ad refers to the freshman’s time as a lawyer two decades ago, when he defended hardened criminals, and is designed to boost Republican challenger Brendan Doherty.
Frame of the advertisement that links David Cicilline to child abusers
Doherty, a former state police chief, is running for office for the first time.
The ad echoes an attack on Doherty’s own campaign launched last week which shows a photo of Cicilline on screen alongside the words “rapists, pedophiles and murderers”.
Nationally, Democrats are not expected to regain control of the House in Tuesday’s elections. But Cicilline’s seat in tiny, liberal-leaning Rhode Island would be a victory for Republicans, who haven’t won a seat in the state House of Representatives since 1992.
The Republican Party sees this year as its best opportunity since then, and both national parties have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on television ads in the final week of the race.
Republican congressional candidate Brendan Doherty, left, and incumbent U.S. Rep. David Cicilline, D-R., right, participate in a televised debate.
The NRCC ad is “one of the toughest ads I’ve seen in Rhode Island politics,” said former Democratic congressman Bob Weygand.
He said defense attorneys don’t necessarily like their clients, but their job is to defend them, and that shouldn’t affect them personally.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee called the ad “the worst kind of corrupt politics,” while Cicilline campaign manager Eric Hyers said voters deserve a debate on these issues.
Cicilline’s campaign released an ad Wednesday focusing on Republican ads and saying Doherty “doesn’t want to talk about his agenda.”
When asked about the fairness of an ad attacking a lawyer for defending those accused of crimes, NRCC spokesperson Nat Sillin criticized Cicilline for choosing to “fight for violent criminals” rather than victims.
‘David Cicilline chose to represent convicted child molesters and murderers. He chose to make a career doing that,” he said.
It’s “one of the toughest ads I’ve seen in Rhode Island politics,” former Democratic congressman Bob Weygand told the Washington Post, adding that Cicilline’s work should not reflect on him personally.