As a city council candidate, I found it remarkable that prior to our local city election, the Republican Party State Central Committee spent big money on two large, half-page ads in the local Billings Gazette. Their headline stated "Stop the Socialist Take-Over of Billings.” They then endorsed five candidates they supported.
Honestly, I found the ad disturbing and offensive. To insinuate or even suggest that the other candidates in this local race have some sort of Marxist/Leninist leaning is patently absurd. Our city elections are designated as non-affiliated. Every candidate filing their application with the city, checked the box as having no political party affiliation.
All of the candidates, as well as those who lost in the primary, are simply decent, local citizens who obviously care deeply about our city and its future. Most have devoted significant amounts of their time and energy, endeavoring to make Billings a better place to live. They all have our city's best interest at heart.
The Gazette, the Chamber of Commerce and other groups also endorsed various candidates, but didn't smear or disparage the other contestants running. Frankly, I found this Republican ad slanderous, mean-spirited and malicious. The Republicans who printed it need to take a long, serious look inward. Branding good, local candidates as socialists smacks of the same sort of spurious tirades that came from fascist regimes in the 1920s and ‘30s. Shame on the Republican Party for denigrating these good citizens and interfering in a non-partisan election.
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Dennis L. Ulvestad