IMAGE: Cliff Li
For a big-league political consultant, this week’s Rogue, Elaine Franklin, made a rookie mistake in the current election cycle.
Franklin is best known for zealously protecting her former boss and current husband, ex-U.S. Sen. Bob Packwood, when the Oregon Republican was hounded from the Senate for, well, being a hound. She subsequently ran several high-profile statewide races, working for GOP gubernatorial candidates Denny Smith in 1994 and Ron Saxton in 2002, in addition to numerous legislative campaigns.
But she recently made a Roguish mistake while working in the political minor leagues for Phyllis Thiemann in the GOP primary for House District 52.
Two high-profile Republicans—Gail Atteberry, director of the anti-abortion group Oregon Right to Life, and J.L. Wilson, a lobbyist for Associated Oregon Industries—say Franklin told them that Thiemann’s opponent, mixed-martial arts fighter Matt “The Law” Lindland, is a felon.
That’s false. Court records—which Franklin emailed to WW—show Lindland’s only criminal conviction is a misdemeanor for stealing $29.65 worth of groceries 18 years ago.
As an experienced political operative, Franklin should know better than shoveling dirt that can easily be disproven. And as someone who claims the moral high ground—she famously quit the Republican Party after the 2002 primary, sick of intolerant conservatives—she ought to think twice before throwing mud at somebody who kicks people for a living.
Initially, Franklin issued a denial: “I am not spreading rumors that Matt Lindland has a felony conviction on his record,” she wrote WW in a May 2 email. But after WW produced assertions from Wilson and Atteberry to the contrary (see wwire) and Lindland promised legal action if she didn’t issue a written apology, Franklin wrote in a May 5 email, “Because Lindland has threatened to sue me and on the advice of my lawyer I will have no further comment on this issue.”