Letter to the Editor of Salyersville Independent: Responding to 'NO SPENDING FOR DEMS' Story

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May 2, 2018

I am replying to your article “No Spending For Dems” dated April 26, 2018.  Even though your article is as far as I can tell mostly accurate.  Your article would lead most readers to believe that county candidates are funded like national and state candidates.  I think your readers would be better informed if you would point out that most county candidates assume their own financial responsibility for their campaigns.  Even though I haven’t followed your news reporting enough to label it “Fake News” but I do believe one could conclude it is “Bias News”.  Your news reaches out to surrounding counties but you didn’t reference not one as to their financial status and just how much financial support is given to candidates on the county level.  Also because of the parties inactive status doesn’t mean a individual candidate can’t accept, spend or raise money for their candidacy. Also you fail to mention that in the 2016 election year several Magoffin county democratics including Haden (HB) Arnett democratic candidate for County Judge as well as your boss, the publisher of Salyersville Independent (Ritt Mortimer) along with many more in our county gave over FIVE THOUSANDS DOLLARS to the State Republican party.  If those same good democratics would have given the same amount to our local party.  Then we would have adequate amount of money to do all of those things your mention in your article and more!

Randall Hardin
Magoffin County Democratic 


Response to the Above Letter

Mr. Hardin,
Well, I’m glad you can at least confirm the article was accurate, however, I am troubled by your insinuation that we are misleading readers, while you raise completely unrelated questions. From what I can gather, and you should be better versed at this than I am, the county political committees are put in place, in part, to support their candidates and, be it a strategic move, a lack of leadership, or just a lack of funding, it appears there will be a slate of candidates without support from their local political party this year. I have my guesses on what that means, but I’ll let others infer what they will.

Now, I am registered Independent, so this does not directly affect me. While you say this is “bias news,” I simply wrote the story because someone came to us and said the party was defunct. When given the opportunity to explain the meanings behind changes you are obviously well aware of, you simply told me the Democratic party was operating the same it always had. It is well-documented that your brother spent a decent amount of time almost a year ago clearing out the accounts so they could be closed, and then you sent a letter actually asking for inactive financial status for the party committee, which would classify as a change within the local party.

I did not mention donations made at the state level for the simple reason that was not the subject of the story. This was a story about the local political parties. Of course, checking on the other counties’ political parties’ records could have added another layer to the story, so I agree, that could have been interesting. However, it does not change the fact that the county Democratic party’s records do not seem to reflect what actually happened in the past. How would the Republican party, which has a much smaller voting pool in Magoffin County, raise and spend so much more money locally than the Democratic party? Why do the Democratic party’s records not reflect the event that was advertised in the newspaper? Where did that money go? Who paid for it? If it were the sponsors on the ad, where is a record of how much they donated for it? Was anything else left off of the documents? Like I said, I have my opinions, and I’m sure you have yours, but we’ll just let people infer what they will.

You are completely correct when you say that individual candidates can still accept, spend and raise money for their candidacy. That’s a fact I did not dispute in the article. I even stated that the party itself can operate as usual in its official capacity, just that the party as a whole cannot take in or spend money. Now, will that actually affect the election? I have no idea, but I’m sure there are some people on the Democratic ticket that wonder if the lack of party-gathering events will have an impact on their races. 

I have no knowledge as to whether or not H.B. Arnett gave to the state Republican party in 2016. As far as I’m concerned, that’s neither here nor there and I don’t know how that would affect either the Magoffin County Republican Party Committee or the Magoffin County Democratic Party Committee. My boss, Ritt Mortimer, as well as his parents, have told me they gave money to then-candidate State Representative John Blanton (Republican), not to the state Republican Party, but their donations were nowhere close to $5,000. I checked with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance and Ritt gave a one-time payment of $100 to Blanton’s campaign, and Doug and Sue gave $500 in the Primary Election, and another $500 during the General Election, donated directly to Blanton. Doug and Sue Mortimer also emphasized they are registered Independents and they have never given money to a local or state political party, either way, but that would be their prerogative, I suppose. Let us not attempt to blur the lines between an individual political candidate’s race, the county’s political parties, and the state’s political parties. As you pointed out, those are different ball games and we would hate to accidentally lead someone to believe otherwise. 

I hope you keep reading the paper and please let me know if you think I have misled any of our readers. If something is wrong, I’ll print a retraction. We may not always hit the mark, but each week we attempt to bring an honest depiction of what’s happening in the county to our service area. As hard as it may be some weeks, and no matter how many times we are tasked with covering political cases in court, we try to keep our opinions out of it.  

Heather Oney
Salyersville Independent


Original Story: http://salyersvilleindependent.com/article/no-spending-dems-local-political-party-inactive-financial-status