O’Laughlin responds to attack ads, Chamber says trial attorneys are trying to buy Senate seat

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Republican state senate candidate Cindy O’Laughlin is responding to recent attack ads issued against her in recent weeks.

One of the latest ads dubs the candidate as “Glass House Cindy”, saying that she had thrown stones at President Donald Trump and then at her opponents, while also citing sources to prove the claim that she is a political insider.

“She’s run for office several times, has her own lobbyist, and served as treasurer for a special interest group that doled out over a million dollars to Jeff City politicians,” the video ad says.

The ad is paid for by Missouri’s Future, a political action committee used by the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys, and O’Laughlin’s campaign says it’s not the first attacks from trial attorneys they’ve seen, with $170,000 being put against her by the “Missouri’s Future” PAC.

“This is why it is so hard to get good people to run for office that come from the outside world. I’m not discouraged – I knew this would be an uphill climb,” O’Laughlin said in a statement. “This group has partnered with Nate Walker to win this seat for their cause and it may very well work.”

In a release issued on Wednesday, the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that trial attorneys are attempting to block efforts to bring more legal reform to Missouri by buying the Senate District 18 seat with donations to Walker, one the candidates they say has a record of not supporting those legal reform efforts.

The coffers of Rep. Nate Walker’s campaign recently saw an influx of donations in the amount of $164,050, and the Chamber says that during Walker’s tenure in the House, “has not supported the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s efforts to pass reforms to our state’s legal climate.”

“His vote record shows votes against venue and joinder reform and punitive damages reform — two critical pieces of legislation that could help bring fairness to our state’s courtrooms,” the news release read. “He was absent from a vote on the Business Premises Safety Act.”

The other three candidates in the race – O’Laughlin, Craig Redmon and Lindell Shumake, are solid supporters of tort reform efforts, according to the Chamber.

Recent polls have shown Walker trailing behind the other three candidates in the race, but some have started to fear the possibility that the new donations to Walker’s campaign could narrow the gap and help him secure a win in the August 7 primary.

“This is what the Missouri Chamber PAC is up against this election cycle,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber president and CEO. “The trial attorneys will be trying to buy this race and others to stop our progress on our tort reform agenda. We need to push back by supporting candidates who are willing to stand up for our top priorities.”

According to the Chamber, their PAC has not endorsed anyone in this race, but say that they “cannot allow our pro-business agenda to be compromised by legislators who are not willing to stand up for our top priorities.”

Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email benjamin@themissouritimes.com or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.