By Paul Gable
Throughout her campaign for reelection, Conway Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy has been subjected to name calling, accusations and hate messaging as an ad this week by her campaign committee stated.
Through it all Blain-Bellamy has taken the “high road”, choosing to speak about the issues that affect Conway voters rather than engaging in mud-slinging in return.
Blain-Bellamy is out meeting voters personally this week rather than spending $40,300, as her opponent has done, to hire door knockers to attempt to gain votes.
Meanwhile, a blog supporting her opponent published a bogus article claiming an ethics complaint was officially filed against Blain-Bellamy on November 1st for mistakes she made on campaign disclosure filings. Mistakes do not rise to the level of an ethics violation but that didn’t stop the mud-slinging.
However, even a cursory reading of state law demonstrates this article was false:
Section 8-13-320 (9)(b)(1) states, “No complaint may be accepted by the commission concerning a candidate for elective office during the fifty-day period before an election in which he is a candidate.”
There is one more section of state law that the blogger should have read:
Section 8-13-320 (2): “If the commission finds that the complaining party wilfully filed a groundless complaint, the finding must be reported to the Attorney General. The wilful filing of a groundless complaint is a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, a person must be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than one year.”
November 1, 2023, is clearly within the 50-day period before election day November 7, 2023. Filing a complaint about a mistake, which was later corrected, could be deemed groundless. But, in politics, never let minor things, such as the law, get in the way of a good headline.
The Defeating Communism PAC sent another mailer to Conway voters’ mailboxes this week to attempt to paint a false narrative about Blain-Bellamy. The narrative was an attempt to make it look like Blain-Bellamy was being congratulated by an LGBTQ group for signing a Pride proclamation. The QR code included on the mailer tracks back to a hate video, produced locally, spoken about in previous articles.
It is interesting to note that after this latest mailer reached voters, lawn signs supporting Richardson were removed by some property owners in Conway.
An email sent to GSD queried whether the Richardson campaign was coordinating with this PAC. I suspect there is one degree of separation from official coordination. However, it’s unimaginable that a PAC in Dublin, Ohio would choose to get involved in the Conway mayoral election without some prodding from locals, especially with the locally targeted messaging and link included in the discussion.
Through all the ridiculous hate thrown at Blain-Bellamy, she has conducted herself with poise and class typical of her, ignoring the hatred thrown at her while communicating with voters about real issues that affect them on a daily basis.
Her opponent and his supporters can’t say the same.