House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) enjoys about as safe a seat as any sitting lawmaker, so it will take some creativity to convince voters in her North Portland district to back her opponent in the Democratic primary, real estate agent and transportation activist Sharon Nasset.

When the official Voters' Pamphlet (left, below) produced by the secretary of state's elections division arrived in mailboxes this week, voters in Kotek's district got a remarkably similar facsimile (right, below) —for District 44 only.


Candidates submit the content for the genuine guide.

It's usually a combination of past accomplishments, proposed policies and endorsements—political humble-bragging, in most cases. Kotek, a five-term incumbent, this year submitted copy that describes her as "a fighter on our side" who is "fighting for fairness and justice," "fighting for our kids," and "fighting for a safe, healthy future," with lots of description of her legislative victories in those areas.

But the fake guide voters got this week describes her differently: it says Kotek was really:

“FIGHTING to free corporations for unnecessary regulations.” (“worked with Republicans to pass the Monsanto Protection Act, which prohibits GMO food labeling”)

“FIGHTING government waste by reducing pension payment.” (“joined with Republicans to cut pension payments to public employees”)

FIGHTING government restrictions on political participation.” (“stopped a bill calling for a Constitutional Amendment to overturn the conservative Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United”)

Kotek’s supporters went after Nasset on Facebook for the distributing the deceptive mail piece and Nasset issued the following non-apology apology:
“It has come to my attention that a ‘mock voter’s guide’ is being distributed in support of my campaign. Some of you have expressed frustration that you feel insulted and tricked,” Nasset wrote. “I recognize that anything being distributed which supports me reflects onto my campaign regardless of who distributed it.

I have spoken to some of the people volunteering in support of my campaign, who have expressed a desire to be represented by someone who is truly connected to their community. I believe it was no one’s intention to deceive, and that it was meant to be clear that this was NOT an official government mailer. I am sorry to anyone who felt insulted.”

Nasset did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.