Topeka A national Republican group Thursday stood by a television ad criticizing the Democratic nominee for attorney general, which kept airing despite efforts by the nominee and Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to get it pulled.
Sebelius and Paul Morrison, who is challenging GOP Atty. Gen. Phill Kline, called the ad misleading and asked 18 stations in Kansas and Missouri to stop broadcasting it. The 30-second spot was from the Republican State Leadership Committee, based in Washington.
Sebelius said in a letter that the ad misrepresented her position on 2003 crime legislation. A letter from an attorney for the Morrison campaign called it "blatantly false and deceptive."
Kline is a former chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Assn., which is affiliated with the committee running the ad. However, spokeswomen for the committee and Kline's campaign said there was no coordination between the two on the ad.
The advertisement, referring to Morrison's work as a member of the Kansas Sentencing Commission, says Morrison led efforts to reduce sentences for violent offenders and made recommendations opposed even by Sebelius.
In a letter sent Thursday to station managers - a day after Sebelius and Morrison's campaign sent their letters - Craig Engle, an attorney representing the GOP committee, defended the ad's claims.
"As a broadcaster, you should not inject yourself into a political debate between rival candidates. Instead, you should provide a forum for them to have the debate," Engle wrote. "The statements contained in the advertisement are true, and your station should continue to air them as other stations are doing."
The Topeka Capital-Journal reported that KSNT, the local NBC affiliate, had stopped broadcasting the ad temporarily Wednesday so that its attorneys could review the governor's complaint. However, Engle said in his letter that the station had begun airing the ad again.