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Brock Questions Zuckerman's Character In New Attack Ad

There's a major controversy emerging in the race for lieutenant governor. GOP candidate Randy Brock has released a radio ad that calls into question the character of Democratic-Progressive candidate David Zuckerman.

Zuckerman has denied the charges, and says Brock is acting like a desperate candidate.

There are enormous policy differences between Brock and Zuckerman on a host of critical issues ranging from health care, tax policy, budget priorities, gun control and the legalization of marijuana.

But in his new radio ad, Brock says the biggest issue in the campaign is character —and that's something that Brock says he has and Zuckerman lacks.

“In my years in public office I'm proud of my strong record to Vermont,” Brock says in the ad. “My opponent, David Zuckerman, has a record too, and it should concern all of us … the job of lieutenant governor a heartbeat away from being governor is too important to elect someone you can't trust." 

Brock says Zuckerman has erroneously compared the fight to legalize marijuana to the fight for racial justice, and he says a Zuckerman campaign staffer is spreading false, racially-charged accusations about Brock. 

Brock, who is African American, says he's outraged by these actions.

“I've run campaigns for 12 years in Vermont,” Brock says. “I've never mentioned race at all in any of those campaigns. I've never raised the issue … that's a bald-faced lie and I would be remiss — I'd be remiss to my supporters; I would be remiss to Vermonters if I sat idly by and just said nothing about it."

Brock says Zuckerman also billed taxpayers for mileage he never drove while he was a member of the House, and he says Zuckerman introduced legislation that he could personally benefit from.

Brock insists that the ads are not negative. Instead, he refers to them as contrasts.

“I do not believe that quoting a candidate's own words and actions is character assassination,” he says. “I believe it is a contrast, and I believe it is simply advising Vermonters who might not know some factual issues that are relevant."

But Zuckerman says Brock is taking his past statements totally out of context in an effort to smear his candidacy.

As an example, Zuckerman says marijuana issues and race are related because African Americans are arrested at a higher rate on pot charges.

And Zuckerman says he was allowed as a House member to be reimbursed for mileage and meals as a “daily allowance” regardless of whether the expenses were actually incurred.

That law has since been changed.

Zuckerman says Brock's strategy won't work.

“It's extremely disappointing. We've been running an issues-based campaign,” Zuckerman says. “[I] guess my opponent is feeling desperate. He's taking this right from the right-wing playbook, and he's wildly out of step with most Vermonters on main issues … So instead of telling everybody what he believes in, he's taken to attacking my character.”

And Zuckerman says he plans to stick to an issue-based campaign strategy regardless of Brock's negative ads.

“I'm going to stay on those issues and going to let the facts stand on their own, and those people who are going to buy into his attacks here probably weren't really with me to begin with,” Zuckerman says. “And so I'm not going to make the next … four weeks about that. It's really about the important issues facing Vermonters."

Brock also announced that someone has hacked into his campaign website to post tweets from GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.

For a number of months, Brock has been very critical of Trump and he has said that he would never vote him.

Brock says he's removed the Trump tweets from his website and is resetting the password for that account.

Bob Kinzel has been covering the Vermont Statehouse since 1981 — longer than any continuously serving member of the Legislature. With his wealth of institutional knowledge, he answers your questions on our series, "Ask Bob."
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