Republican Troy Balderson approved of and released a blatantly false television ad against his opponent, according to an analysis by the Columbus Dispatch.
With a Trump-like disregard for honesty, Republican House candidate Troy Balderson released a television ad so full of lies and false smears about his Democratic opponent in Ohio's 12th Congressional District, Danny O'Connor, that a major local newspaper dismantled it piece by piece.
And when O'Connor called Balderson out for his smears, Balderson quickly deleted a tweet promoting the false ad.
A fact check at the Columbus Dispatch labeled Balderson's attack ad "misleading" and said that Balderson took "a might swing and miss" with his false claims about O'Connor.
The most outrageous, and outrageously false, claim in the ad was that O'Connor had spent "taxpayer money on a life coach, gifts for friends and to support a radical left wing group" in his position as Franklin County Recorder.
But as the Dispatch documented, the supposed "life coach" was actually a business and organizational consultant who worked with O'Connor's office. The "gifts for friends" were actually legitimate printing costs. And the "radical left wing group" was actually a women's equality seminar that was jointly sponsored with other countywide officials.
Balderson's ad also falsely claimed that O'Connor wants to repeal tax cuts for the middle class, when he actually wants to repeal them for the top 1 percent of taxpayers.
And the ad associated O'Connor with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), even though O'Connor has said he would not vote for Pelosi as speaker.
O'Connor fought back. He took Balderson to task on social media, tweeting out the Columbus Dispatch story in response to Balderson's tweet about the dishonest ad.
Balderson, presumably embarrassed by the fact check, deleted the tweet promoting the ad. Additionally, the ad does not appear on Balderson's campaign Facebook page, although three other campaign ads are there.
However, the misleading ad is still available on the Balderson campaign's YouTube page. There are four campaign ads posted there — but the campaign has disabled the "comments" section only on the ad debunked by the Columbus Dispatch, perhaps to prevent anyone from pointing out the multiple falsehoods contained in it.
Balderson and O'Connor are competing in a special election in Ohio's 12th District, a solidly Republican area. Yet as the Washington Post notes, the 12th District could be yet another chance for Democrats to pull off a big special election upset in Trump territory — and Balderson seems worried.
In an ironic twist, part of the ad says O'Connor and Democrats "can’t be trusted." Yet based on how many blatant lies he was willing to tell about his opponent, Balderson seems to be the one who cannot be trusted.
Even one of Balderson's Republican primary opponents, Lawrence Cohen, refused to endorse Balderson, saying O'Connor is "the better choice."
Balderson is not alone in spreading misinformation to denigrate O'Connor. Fox News also printed a highly misleading story about O'Connor's work history.
During law school, O'Connor spent summers as a legal intern in the prosecutor's office. After graduating from law school, O'Connor went back to the office and served as a certified legal intern before leaving to work at a private practice.
But in an article that reads more like a campaign hit piece than a news article, Fox News accuses O'Connor of overstating the work he did. Yet Fox News cannot point to any evidence of O'Connor doing anything other than being truthful about his experience. Rather, the article relies on emails from O'Connor supporters, which were neither seen nor approved by O'Connor's campaign.
Balderson is running for Congress in a traditionally Republican district. Yet both he and the conservative media establishment seem to be running scared, resorting to underhanded tactics and outright lies against their opponent.
In a tightening race, Balderson's eagerness to get to Washington, D.C., to rubber-stamp the Trump agenda is evident. He's clearly willing to emulate Trump's total disregard for the truth.