Challenger blasts Lehan campaign tactic as negative

Campaign officials for Chairwoman Charlotte Lehan are pointing to a 2010 speeding ticket in an attempt to show how former Wilsonville Mayor John Ludlow would have disregard for Clackamas County’s legal obligations if elected chairman in the November election.

When Ludlow was clocked by radar and ticketed in Vancouver, Wash., for driving 60 mph in a 40 mph zone, he spoke with the officer about his background as an elected official.

According to paperwork available at the Clark County District Court, the ticketing officer, Vancouver Police Sgt. Roy L. Rhine, on June 1, 2010, wrote that Ludlow said, “Just not paying attention — how about it. Will you give me a break? I’m the former mayor of Wilsonville.”

The wording in the police report is important, the Lehan campaign says, because it shows Ludlow’s contrasting views on upholding legally biding agreements. Lehan pointed to Clackamas County’s previously signed agreement to contribute $25 million to TriMet for light rail in her Aug. 22 vote for making a $19.9 million settlement.

“It’s disconcerting to think that Mr. Ludlow tried to use his background as a public official to get out of the ticket,” said Chris Edmonds, campaign manager for Lehan. “We don’t really have anything against the speeding ticket itself — everyone gets them, but it’s entirely inappropriate to use your status as an elected official in an attempt to avoid the law.”

Saying the partial comments written by police are being taken out of context, Ludlow noted that he was in an unfamiliar area when the officer stopped him at about 9:45 a.m. According to Ludlow, the officer asked him about his background what he was doing in Clark County, leaving out much of the “friendly conversation” they had.

“I was going to see a friend, and I didn’t know the area,” Ludlow said. “I’ve never tried to peddle my little influence as a former mayor, and I certainly wouldn’t think that I’d have any sway in Clark County as a former mayor in Wilsonville.”

Negative campaigning

Ludlow added that that Lehan’s campaign tactic was ridiculous given her past stance on negativity. On April 25, Lehan called for an end to the negative campaign advertising in the May primary election that ended up narrowing the field of four candidates to two, both former mayors of Wilsonville.

“Campaign tactics like these do nothing to advance the interests of Clackamas County residents,” wrote Lehan in the press release. “The political culture of personal destruction has no place in our community.”

Ludlow believes if there was anything questionable about his criminal history, the “check from top to bottom” had already occurred. The Oregon Department of Corrections named Ludlow its 2012 Volunteer of the Year, so Ludlow believes the Lehan campaign is “grasping for straws” in their “desperation after the Sept. 18 vote” results forcing votes on future light-rail projects.

“It’s just negativity, and they keep trying to distract from the real issues,” he said. “They called me the ‘Tea Party prince of darkness’ on the Democratic Party website, when I have support from all types of folks for this nonpartisan seat.”

As for upholding the contract with TriMet, Ludlow said that if elected he would urge county attorneys to research how the September vote could be used to return taxpayer funds legally.

As another campaign promise, Ludlow says he will urge a pre-emptive vote on any more expansion of light rail into the county to send a message to TriMet planners.

“Let’s put it to a vote of the people right now so we’re not spending millions on planning for projects we don’t want,” he said.

But Ludlow also engaged in negative campaigning last week, sending out an emailed video of Lehan speaking about urban-renewal debt, saying she “racked it up” after he started the program in Wilsonville.

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