Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Bigus Beats Up On Baker

For the second day in a row, Lisa Baker is attacked on the front page of the Times Leader by an opponent for questionable campaign tactics. In the article by Michael Buffer, Bigus is steamed at Baker for employing an age old campaign tactic ---- Shore up your support in a weak area by getting an "endorsement."

The Times Leader writes : A campaign flier touting support of state Senate candidate Lisa Baker by area sportsmen is misleading and underhanded, rival candidate Russ Bigus claims.
The flier features comments of Dale Butler, president of the Red Rock Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, and Mike Protz, president of the Northeast Division of the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsman’s Clubs, pushing Baker as a supporter of hunters and gun owners.
Bigus called the flier “a clever way” to make it look like the National Wild Turkey Federation and the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsman’s Clubs back Baker as organizations.
But Baker campaign manager Brian Grove said the flier doesn’t claim or suggest the organizations have endorsed Baker. He said the flier lists the organization credentials of Protz and Butler, so that people who read the flier “understand they are sportsmen.”
The Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsman’s Clubs has a policy that it doesn’t endorse candidates, said Executive Director Melody Zullinger.
“When Mike (Protz) gave the quote, he did not list himself as division chairman, and it should not have listed the organization,” Zullinger said. “It gives an innuendo that the PFSC was supporting the candidate.”
And by law, the National Wild Turkey Federation can’t endorse political candidates because it is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, spokesman Jonathan Harling said.
“No, the organization is not endorsing,” said Butler, a resident of Noxen. “I cannot speak for the National Wild Turkey Federation or the Red Rock Chapter. Again, that was not the intent. The intent is: this is who I am. … I’m a credible sportsman.”
In the flier, Butler said Baker “is a true friend to Pennsylvania hunters, gun owners and wildlife.” Protz said she “knows sportsmen’s issues and is right on the issues.”
Bigus also said Baker doesn’t support sportsmen, claiming Baker and Ridge did not support plans for a new shooting range in Dennison Township in 2000. The range was never built.
Baker responded, “The decision was not the governor’s decision, but that of the Game Commission. … My role was not in any way to dictate to an independent agency.”
In December 2000, Ridge removed George Venesky from the eight-person Game Commission. Venesky of Rice Township backed construction of the range.
Baker’s flier says she supports increased funding for public shooting ranges and legislation that prohibits interference with lawful hunting. It says she opposes additional regulation of firearms, bans or additional taxes on ammunition, magazines and firearms and all registration schemes.

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