This post has been hilariously updated below.
Recent polling in Michigan’s 1st Congressional District shows Democrat Lon Johnson with a narrow 2-point lead in the “Leans Republican” district. This has Republicans freaking out and now they have resorted to airing a completely false ad contending that Johnson doesn’t live in Kalkaska as he claims and, in fact, lives in a penthouse suite in downtown Detroit.
Johnson’s campaign released a statement unequivocally refuting the ad:
Lon Johnson, and his wife Julianna Smoot, live full-time in Kalkaska, Michigan. Johnson is the 5th generation of his family to live full-time in Kalkaska County. Johnson doesn’t rent a condo or an apartment in Detroit or elsewhere.
The ad, which you can watch HERE, shows an image of a rundown fishing cabin which is where they claim Johnson pretends to live with his wife Juliana Smoot. The property has an SEV of $32,500 meaning it’s likely a modest $65,000 home but hardly the “fishing cabin” the GOP would like you to believe.
The attack is particularly ironic because Johnson’s Republican opponent Jack Bergman IS, in fact, a self-described “snowbird” who spends much of his time in Louisiana. When he retired in 2009, he told NOLA.com that he planned to spend most of his time in Louisiana with his wife:
On Monday, Bergman said he and his wife, Cindy, know that most of their days in retirement will be spent in Louisiana. They have a home in St. Francisville, far south of their native states of Minnesota and Iowa.
“We quite honestly fell in love with New Orleans and Louisiana, ” Bergman said. “Pure and simple. It’s not any more complicated than that. We feel this is a community and a state that we want to be part of. And it doesn’t hurt that we don’t get 10 feet of snow here in the winter.”
In 2013, he was appointed to the Louisiana Military Advisory Council, a four-year position that he retains today. He’s described as being from Baton Rouge on the Council’s Board membership list. When he was first introduced as a new member, he told his colleagues on the LMAC, “Good morning, everybody. I’m Jack Bergman, proud resident of St. Francisville. I retired from the Marine Corps in 2009 and I’m excited.”
He also listed his address as a P.O. Box in St. Francisville, Louisiana on political contributions to a Democratic New Orleans City Council candidate Jackie Clarkson and to a PAC in Louisiana.
These facts fly in the face of Bergman’s contention that he “has been a resident of Watersmeet for 18 years, living there a majority of the time for the last six years since retiring from the Marines.”
Republicans know they are on the ropes in the 1st Congressional District so this latest ploy to spread disinformation about Johnson is, perhaps, understandable even if it is a bald-faced lie. I suppose it’s probably pretty hard to defend their candidate otherwise, given that Bergman supports privatizing Medicare, Social Security, and the VA Healthcare system. And, given Bergman’s actual issue with being a carpetbagger, it’s no particular surprise that they’d attempt to smear Johnson with lies about his residency to distract voters from their own candidate’s history.
UPDATE: LOL. Apparently Bergman pulled down this picture of him holding a big honkin’ fish that had been posted on his Facebook page in a now non-existent album called “Jack Fishing on Lake Superior”:
Why did he pull it down? Because that fish is a salt water fish known as a red drum, common along the mid and southern Atlantic coast and in the Gulf of Mexico. They are not found in any of the Great Lakes including Lake Superior. I hear they are very popular in the marshes and bayous of Louisiana.