MEDFORD, Ore. — With election season comes campaigning, and occasionally with campaigning comes negative advertisements against candidates.
Senate candidates Jessica Gomez and Jeff Golden say they’ve both tried to run a clean campaign based on facts and issues concerning the public. But just because they’ve tried to do that, doesn’t mean it’s stopped others from putting out negative advertisements.
“I’m really surprised, I’m really surprised for two reasons,” Golden said. “I’m really surprised that the other side would jump into the cesspool this way towards the end of the race, I know that happened on the national level, I didn’t think it was a southern Oregon thing.”
The ad questions who the “real” Jeff Golden is, calling him a cheater, a player and misogynist. The words to describe him seemingly coming from his marital affair decades ago.
“I’m really surprised that they seem to have discovered something I’ve been very public about which is that in my 30s, in my first marriage, I was unfaithful.”
Golden says his affair is no new news. He’s opened up about his story to share with others how to regain respect after you’ve made a mistake. He even put out a documentary about it.
Jessica Gomez, Golden’s opponent in the race, says she has nothing to do with the attack.
“That’s just not something our campaign would do at all, we’re running purely on issues and I just think that’s terrible and we shouldn’t have that negative tactics in campaigns down here,” Gomez said.
NBC5 News traced the ad back to the website therealjeffgolden.com, which is paid for by the Women’s Action Fund. The website uses the same photo on their web page as the ad does.
According to the Oregon Secretary of State’s website, the Woman’s Action Fund appears to have been paid for independently by a woman in Virginia. Expenditure reports show Women’s Action Fund spend $18,639.39 in opposition of Golden.
“This is about the fourth or fifth mud pie, in the last couple of weeks, towards the end of the election and my sense the whole time has been Jessica is not behind this,” Golden said. “I think almost everybody knows that people in this district tend to react badly to this stuff and it backfires.”
Despite the negative advertisements, Gomez and Golden both say they have tried to run a clean and fair race.
“We’ve done our best, our very best to run an issue-based campaign, to find out what people think and what people are most concerned about,” Golden said.
“We’ve been running a campaign that’s based on issues, pointing out the differences between candidates so people can make the best decision based on real information,” Gomez said.
A previous version of this article state the Woman’s Action Fund has a group in Ashland. This information was incorrect.
Blakely McHugh is a weather forecaster and reporter for NBC5 News. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Blakely is a native of San Diego, CA.
Blakely is excited to be in southern Oregon, a place that gets all the seasons and has similar temperatures to Arizona in the summer! When she’s not at work, you can find her relaxing at home watching TV and cuddling with her cat, Dallas. She also enjoys trying new places to eat and exploring the outdoors.
Blakely loves meeting new people so if you see her out and about, say “Hi!”