Saint Louis, Mo. — Republican Jay Ashcroft isn’t backing down from his latest controversial ad in the race for the 24th senatorial district which accused his Democratic opponent, Jill Schupp, of protecting sex offenders.
Ashcroft has been hammering Schupp on her votes as a member of the Missouri House of Representatives and for not taking a clear position on Amendment 2 on the November ballot.
The Amendment would change Missouri law to allow relevant evidence of prior criminal acts to be admissible in the prosecution of sexual crimes, which is the standard used by federal courts and other states. Detractors say it is inherently prejudicial to allow such evidence into admission.
Ashcroft has cited a series of votes taken by Schupp as evidence that she is “on the side” of sex offenders. In at least one case, the accusations may be blurring the lines of honesty.
Ashcroft claims at one point that Schupp voted to allow sex offenders to coach youth sports programs. The accusation stems from a 2009 vote on an amendment to a bill which made various changes to criminal law and harsher restrictions to sex offenders. Schupp voted in favor of an amendment striking some language restricting sex offenders, arguing with her fellow Democrats that the amendment went beyond the legal scope of the underlying bill. She ultimately voted to approve the overall bill.
But at brief press event today with former House Speaker and 2016 gubernatorial candidate, Catherine Hanaway, Ashcroft doubled-down on his statements.
“What we have done, is we’ve cited actual votes she took and said what she did,” Ashcroft said. “If she wants to tell us in some way how an individual vote she has taken is false, we’ll listen to that.”
Hanaway also said that citing procedural votes was not dishonest.
“Procedural votes have an impact,” Hanaway said. “Even if she thought it was not germane, she still voted for something being against those provisions of the bill.”
Schupp has responded by airing her own ad calling Ashcroft’s representation of her votes a “shameful lie.”
Ashcroft said he was hesitant to attack his opponent on the issue when his own campaign staff first alerted him to the votes. Ashcroft told reporters he was uncomfortable with the strategy until he saw the various votes himself and was convinced that voters needed to hear the message.
“Voters need to know where someone is on these issues,” Ashcroft said. “We’re not doing anything but making people aware of the votes she has taken and telling them where I’m at on those issues.”
Collin Reischman was the Managing Editor for The Missouri Times, and a graduate of Webster University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.