The Ohio Republican Party this week refused to apologize for attacking a Democratic candidate’s mental health by insisting that the effort was educational.
U.S. congressional candidate Joe Helle (D), in a joint statement with Republican incumbent Steve Arndt, condemned the Ohio GOP’s negative attack ad. Helle is a veteran who suffers PTSD resulting from his service in Afghanistan. He has openly said that his mental health problem have led to anger issues in the past.
The GOP-sponsored ad highlights the Democratic candidates mental health issues and claims, “You wouldn’t like Joe Helle when he’s angry.”
“I agree with you, Joe,” Arndt explained in a video released on Wednesday. “Those kinds of attack ads, there’s no call for it.”
Arndt said that he has asked the state party to cease its attack ads on Helle.
But Ohio GOP spokesperson Blaine Kelly told the Sandusky Register that the party would not “pull any punches.”
“Joe Helle clearly has an anger problem,” Kelly said. “We’re going to educate voters. We’re not going to pull our punches.”
Helle responded on Twitter by asking, “Do ads like these educate the public, or shred what moral fabric we have left?”
Well, @ohiogop has finally hit rock bottom. Attacking my mental health is the lowest form of politics. Fortunately, people aren’t buying your nonsense. People here are furious at your unethical and immoral attack. I imagine you’re going this low because you can’t win. pic.twitter.com/NHCo3i2FAU
— Joe Helle (@JoeHelle) October 10, 2018
My opponent’s Ohio Republican Party spokesman Blaine Kelly told the Register that attacks on my mental health and post traumatic stress are educational for the public, not attacks. What do you think? Do ads like these educate the public, or shred what moral fabric we have left?
— Joe Helle (@JoeHelle) October 11, 2018
Watch the candidates’ statement on negative ads below.