If this is the best they can come up with, Republicans are in even more trouble than they think in 2018.
The Virginia GOP’s attack on local Democratic candidate Roger Dean (“RD”) Huffstetler has backfired in spectacular fashion, revealing a party that is running scared and grasping for straws ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.
Last month, the right-wing Washington Free Beacon published a hit job on Huffstetler, a Democratic candidate running for Congress in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District. The article, titled “Democrat Running in Virginia Discovers New Southern Accent in New Home State,” attacks Huffstetler for supposedly faking his southern accent in a recently released campaign ad.
Just hours after the article was published, the Virginia GOP’s official Twitter account tweeted it out with a caption calling Huffstetler a “carpetbagger.”
“We can see right through it, RD!” the Virginia GOP wrote.
The regional secretary for the National Republican Congressional Committee also tweeted the article multiple times the same morning, in what appears to be an orchestrated attack on Huffstetler by a panicked Republican party.
In fact, Republicans are so panicked that they apparently rushed out with this latest hit job before thinking it all the way through.
The whole point of the attack was to portray Huffstetler as an “outsider” and a secret California liberal, based on the fact that he lived there for five years. The article claims Huffstetler is faking his southern accent in order to win over voters in the largely rural Virginia district, saying he only “discovered” his accent when he moved to the state in 2016.
It’s true that Huffstetler is not a Virginia native; he was born and raised in North Carolina, then went on to attend college in Georgia before being deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan as a member of the U.S. Marines.
Notably, southern accents are not exclusive to Virginia — people in North Carolina and Georgia also tend to have them.
The attack on Huffstetler — a first-generation college graduate who is relatively new to politics — reflects a growing panic within the Republican party as the reality of the 2018 midterm elections begins to set in.
About two weeks before the attacks started, a GOP super PAC sent out a panicked memo based on recent polling across 69 competitive congressional districts, including VA-05. Apparently, the polling scared Republicans enough that they decided this desperate hit job was their best option.
Huffstetler is running for the congressional seat currently held by Rep. Thomas Garrett, a Republican who was once marked as the most far-right member of Congress.
Until it became politically toxic, Garrett had no problem associating himself with “very fine” people like white supremacists, including the organizer of the Charlottesville rally that resulted in a civil rights activist being murdered. He also claimed last year that the ongoing Russia probe is the equivalent of Trump’s racist “birther” conspiracy theory about President Barack Obama.
Having aligned himself so closely with Trump, Garrett was already in a precarious position going into the 2018 midterms. In an apparent attempt to cling on to the congressional seat, Republican operatives are going after Huffstetler — but the best “dirt” they could dig up was that a man who was born and raised in the South speaks with a southern accent.
Making this all the more laughable is the fact that the author of the hit job calling Huffstetler a “carpetbagger” is a New York City native who lives in D.C.
Yes, you read that correctly: The smear campaign accusing a North Carolina-born Virginia resident of not being southern enough was spearheaded by a New York-born Republican operative working out of Washington, D.C.
If that’s the best they can come up with, Republicans are in even more trouble than they think in 2018.