He’s authorized robo-calls criticizing her for frequently missing key legislative votes.
She’s started a website of supporters, featuring testimony from his ex-wife.
This is classic Art Helton and Nancy Jacobs at their finest.
For those who enjoy their political campaigns with a touch of mud, the Helton/Jacobs rematch for the District 34 (Route 40 corridor and western Cecil) state senate seat promised plenty of intrigue and, with only a handful of days left until the General Election, the race hasn’t failed to deliver.
The feud between the Republican Jacobs, who has been a senator since 1998, and the Democrat Helton, who was elected to the state senate in the mid-1970s, goes back nearly a decade. In 2002, Jacobs defeated Helton by nearly 3,000 votes – 57 percent to 43 percent – in a race for the District 34 senate seat that featured discretely distributed flyers, potentially libelous and certainly scandalous websites, and plenty of bitter barbs.
Eight years later, the two rivals find themselves in a familiar position facing off against one another on the General Election ballot.
And the tactics each campaign employed in 2002 haven’t been forgotten.
In a recent blitz of automated robo-calls sent to District 34 residents, Helton challenges Jacobs’ voting record and says he “can do better.”
Most appalling to Jacobs and her supporters, however, is the following claim Helton makes during the recorded phone message:
“Her poor attendance record has earned her the nickname ‘No-Show Nancy'”
Jacobs said she has experienced a few personally-trying years recently, which included the death of both of her parents and the treatment of her husband for cancer. She said these hardships are responsible for her missed time in the legislature and finds is shameful that Helton would exploit them for his own political gain.
“Honestly, I’m not sure it is worth acknowledging Art’s misleading and negative campaigning,” Jacobs said Friday.
“Attacking me for being with my family during difficult times (the death of both my parents and Bruce’s cancer surgery) should not be what this campaign is about.”
Here is an audio clip of Helton’s robo-call:
Jacobs said she would prefer her campaign stay positive and stick to the issues.
“I want to talk about our differences. He supports two job-killing tax hikes and I support no tax hikes. He supports out-of-control spending that has put our state in a $6.5 billion deficit for the out-years. He calls legislative accomplishment’s like Jessica’s Law (which placed mandatory minimum sentences on child sex offenders) trivial,” she added.
Despite her intentions to stay positive, Jacobs, or at least her supporters, have taken a swipe back at Helton this week via a new website called “Women for Nancy”, which features Heltons’ ex-wife as “Honorary Chair” of the group.
From the site:
My name is PJ Helton Thomas. You may recognize the middle name because my former husband, Art Helton is running for State Senate — again. Even though I no longer live in Harford County, I am 100% behind Nancy Jacobs.
I know that Senator Jacobs is a fighter who shares our values that are really the fabric of our society — protecting our children, fighting against violent crime and creating jobs through sound fiscal policies.
Nancy’s not about just words, she’s about action. When sexual predators were getting off the hook with a slap on the wrist, Nancy said NO! She sponsored and passed Jessica’s Law which placed mandatory minimum jail sentences on these vile predators. Nancy also sponsored and passed the state’s first ever anti-gang laws.
In these tough times, Nancy understands that her constituents are pinching pennies. Nancy didn’t just vote against the 20% sales tax hike, she also sponsored legislation to repeal it. She’s fighting for YOU.
I’m proud to say I endorse Nancy Jacobs. I hope you will too by voting for her on November 2nd. Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts.
PJ Helton Thomas
Jacobs said she did not seek out Helton’s ex-wife as a means of retribution and claims it was Art’s ex-wife (and the other members of Women for Nancy) who sought her out and wanted to be involved in her campaign.
“As for PJ Helton, she’s a good woman who felt that I was being unfairly attacked and that I do a good job. I’m proud to have her support and the support of the ladies in Women for Nancy,” Jacobs said.
Helton was unavailable for comment.