A mailer that arrived in Hays-area mailboxes this weekend has drawn the ire of 111th House challenger Ed Hammond.
The mailer, paid for by Topeka-based PAC Kansas Family Voice, misnamed Hammond as "Tom."
In a statement, Hammond said he the use of the name — the name of his deceased brother — could be "confusing" to voters.
“I loved my brother Tom very much, and still do 12 years after his passing. It was very disturbing and immensely sad to see his name invoked in a political context, especially in relation to divisive, culture-war issues," Hammond said in the statement. "The mailer is potentially confusing to voters, and though I doubt that the mistake is a deliberate attempt to create confusion, it is necessary to point out and correct the mistake."
“At the very least, the mistake highlights the disconnect between my opponent’s campaign and the major issues facing voters from the 111th District. Those are the important economic issues of support for three of the district’s major industries: health care; K-12 education; and Fort Hays State University," he continued. "They are not the culture-war subjects of this mailer, or the national issues highlighted in other mailers funded by outside interest groups and PACS who support my opponent. The error in this instance also puts front and center the fact that those outside interest groups have very little interest in our district, but a very large interest in my opponent’s candidacy.”
The incorrect name is also the name of incumbent state Rep. Barb Wasinger's husband.
Kansas Family Voice apologized for the "typographical" error, repeating portions of the message on the flyers.
“Kansas Family Voice is an outside group who legally cannot and does not coordinate with the candidates and our unfortunate typographical error, for which we sincerely apologize, is ours alone," the organization said in a statement to Hays Post. "Nothing changes the fact that Barb Wasinger has been on the frontlines in Topeka protecting Hays families, girls’ opportunities, and your tax dollars from being used to fund abortion. Ed Hammond has no such track record.”
Wasinger noted the mailer originated not from her campaign, but from the PAC.
"I had no idea the ad was coming and had no part in it. Additionally, because this is an independent expenditure supporting my campaign, I legally cannot know about it ahead of time," she said in a statement to Hays Post. "I do know that Kansas Family Voice is a Christian organization and they would never intentionally hurt anyone, nor would I. I’m sure it was an honest mistake on their part, and I look forward to continuing to address the issues of concern for my district."