A Minnesota woman whose 4-year-old grandson was murdered in 2013 has demanded that the state Republican Party stop using the child’s image in its attack ads against Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton.
Think Progress reported that Republicans have ignored Yvonne Dean’s request and refused to stop running the ad.
Eric Dean was killed in February of 2013 by his stepmother after state child protective services failed to intervene in the abusive household. Republicans are using that failure as a way to smear incumbent Gov. Dayton.
Dayton, said the ad — titled “Incompetence” — “signed a law making it more difficult to investigate maltreatment cases. Incompetence has consequences.”
The ad superimposed a black and white image of Eric Dean’s face next to Dayton’s, a move that Yvonne Dean says was never cleared with the family.
“I am awestruck that they have done something like this,” Dean said to the Minnesota Star Tribune. “To use our family’s tragedy is crossing the line.”
In a phone interview with the Star-Tribune‘s Michael Brodkorb, the grief-stricken grandmother said that child protective services failed Eric “at the county level…how can that be Gov. Dayton’s fault?”
An investigation by the Star-Tribune found that of the 15 incidents of child abuse against Eric Dean, only one — a broken arm — was reported to police. Minnesota agencies, said the report, did not follow up on 71 percent of the reports they received about violent abuse.
“A political campaign is not the proper place at all for those images to be used,” said Dean, who is a registered Republican.
She said that she contacted the Minnesota GOP on Thursday asking that the ad be discontinued. A staffer informed her that her request was out of the question. Republican candidate Jeff Johnson would continue to run the ad and refused to comment on the campaign’s decision.
Furthermore, the law that that the ad accuses Dayton of signing — a statute limiting how Minnesota child protection services could use previous abuse reports when deciding whether to pursue new investigations — was only signed this spring, more than a year after the death of Eric Dean.
Jeff Larson of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) said to the Star-Tribune that the attack ad crossed a line.
“(T)here is no place in politics for this kind of advertisement,” he said.
Watch the ad in question, embedded below via Think Progress: