To the Editor,
I wish to thank everyone who voted in the primary, whether or not you supported me.
Many people are asking what led to a result where a little known individual was able to upset a 4-term City Councilor and Republican City Chair in the GOP Primary. While the Democratic Congressional primary certainly drew many of my Independent, as well as Democratic supporters who cannot cross party lines to vote in a primary, that isn’t the only answer to the results.
With so few votes determining this race, it is very troubling to reflect on what affected the outcome.
Many voters received several mailings from a “Dark Money” PAC, the Massachusetts Majority Independent Expenditure PAC. These mailings intentionally made it seem that Mayor Don Humason endorsed my opponent Kelly Pease with the headline ELECT VETERAN KELLY PEASE As our Next Republican State Representative with a picture of Pease in military uniform next to Don and his son, Quinn.
I appreciate that Don stopped by my house Friday night to let me know that he had not endorsed any candidate or given Kelly or any organization permission to use the photograph, his name or endorsement. We both realized the affect this could have on the election. Another mailing arrived the day before the primary, which left no time to address the situation before people voted.
It is only natural that these deceiving mailings left many voters confused, and thinking that Don had endorsed Mr. Pease, and asking “Is there something that Don knows about Dan that we don’t?”
Kelly won the primary with just 117 votes, which means if these mailings persuaded only 60 people who otherwise would have voted for me, but instead voted for Kelly, that is more than enough to change the results of the primary. In my professional career, I handle candidate mailings all of the time, and I know it is wrong for any campaign to use the image of elected officials without their explicit permission. As a former legislative aide, Kelly should know better than to allow anything that would misrepresent a public official and his former boss. Kelly knew about this for two weeks and should have publicly disavowed the misrepresentation, but he did not.
Voters in Westfield deserve better than misleading cheap tricks. This mailing was designed to have people believing that their long-time and trusted public servant Don Humason, their Mayor and former Senator, had endorsed Kelly. Kelly knew Don wished to remain neutral in the race because of his friendship with both of us. Additionally, for those of us who are parents and grandparents, I think we all can agree it is not acceptable to use the image of children without the permission of their parents. As a loving parent, Don expressed to me the concern for Janice and him, that the image of his son was used.
I have worked for years to get to know the people of Westfield, and to inform and engage voters on important issues and ballot questions. Together, we have had a fair amount of success in these efforts. I will continue to fight for the citizens of Westfield and their concerns. I have talked to more people at their doorsteps, put up more signs, and raised more money than any other candidate in this race. After all of this effort, for an outside group to affect this race, leaves me strongly feeling that the people of Westfield have been deceived and cheated.
I am considering my options including mounting a “sticker” write in campaign in the November election. I humbly ask for your prayers for guidance, courage and wisdom. In the end, the truth always shines.
City Councilor At-Large