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New flier latest in District 18 candidate attacks

A campaign mailer linking the records of North Dakota's House majority leader and Grand Forks Republican candidate Steve Vetter is misleading, he said Saturday.

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A mailer sent to Grand Forks voters from the North Dakota Republican Party depicts Corey Mock as a "carpetbagger." (Submitted Photo)

A campaign mailer linking the records of North Dakota's House majority leader and Grand Forks Republican candidate Steve Vetter is misleading, he said Saturday.

Vetter, who with Republican Allen Beireis is running against Democrats Corey Mock and Kyle Thorson for two House seats in District 18, was featured on a recent campaign mailer from the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party. The mailer touts Mock, a Democrat running in District 18, as a leader in ethics and campaign finance reform, supporter of education, advocate for equal pay and opponent of a 2013 oil tax cut, among other things.

The mailer also pits Mock against Vetter and House Majority Leader Al Carlson, R-Fargo, by listing what the two Republicans support and oppose. It states Carlson and Vetter support a "23 percent oil tax giveaway for out-of-state corporations" and oppose equal pay assurance for working families, government oversight, ethics rules, campaign transparency, universal pre-kindergarten and college scholarships, first-time homebuyer and renter-tax relief programs, and full health benefits for injured workers and first responders.

Vetter objected to the mailer's wording, particularly "Majority Leader Al Carlson and Steve Vetter's record for North Dakota." He has never held a state office and has never voted on legislation, meaning there is no record that says he supports the things listed on the mailer.

Vetter went on to question Mock's ethics, calling the mailer "a flat-out lie."

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"They are making up a record for me," Vetter said. "District 18 needs a leader that will accomplish things instead of make up talking points."

The mailer comes after the North Dakota Republican Party sent out its own mailers attacking area Democrats, including Mock. The GOP mailer, which misspelled Mock's first name as "Cory," depicts him as a carpetbagger, a term used for political candidates who run for office in a place they have only lived briefly.

North Dakota Democratic Party spokesman Daniel Tick said the mailer was in response to the GOP mailers, adding the party wanted to respond in a positive way that focused on a comparison between the candidates. Mock also told the Herald he wanted the mailers to be positive.

Tick defended his party's mailer, saying in an email Vetter "has made it quite clear where he stands on the issues in his campaign literature, in interviews with the media, at the District 18 candidate forum and in the endorsements he's touted from national special interest groups."

Tick also argued Vetter said voters should support him because he intends to be another vote for Carlson and the Republican agenda, which, Tick said, includes all of the things listed on the mailer.

"Given the policies and priorities that Steve has embraced, we really shouldn't be surprised when Al Carlson comes into Grand Forks and spends thousands of dollars attacking Corey Mock and the District 18 Democrats on Steve's behalf," Tick said. "Rather than worrying about the numerous silly mail pieces attacking him, Corey is out knocking doors, talking to voters and reminding them to vote on Tuesday."

Vetter has said he would be part of the majority party, claiming he would get things done in the House if elected, but he disputed Tick's claims that his campaign made it clear where he stands on the issues referred to in the mailer. He said he would like the Democratic Party to show him where he has said or written such views, adding the mailer is "completely false."

When asked if he agreed with the statements regarding what he opposed and supported, Vetter said he didn't have a record of opposing anything listed on the mailer.

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"Who is against equal pay?" he said. "I oppose government oversight ethics rules and campaign transparency? ... This stuff is just so ridiculous and general."

The mailer suggests Vetter is "good buddies" with Carlson, which Vetter took as a compliment, but he said the mailer is a fabrication that "is spreading untruths."

"If it wasn't politics, you could darn near sue someone for this," he said. "I'm not an attorney, but I don't think you can just advertise and make things up."

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A mailer from the North Dakota Democratic Party sent to Grand Forks voters pits Democrat Corey Mock against Republican Steve Vetter. (Grand Forks Herald photo)

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