Dragging their feet to win election

Ohio voters can’t get away from negative campaign ads, especially in the race for U.S. Senate, where Sherrod Brown and Mike DeWine are locked in a battle that is the closest in years.

It’s understandable that both parties are pulling out all of the stops, searching for an advantage that will put their candidate over the top. Democrats desperately want to pick up six Senate seats, which will give them the majority. Republicans want to maintain their control.

And so the mud-slinging continues.

Last week, two different commercials began airing — one from the Republican National Committee, the other from DeWine’s camp — accusing Democrat Brown of failing to pay unemployment taxes for 13 years. That’s a serious charge. If true, either Brown’s management team was incompetent or purposefully evading the law.

The problem is, the charge just isn’t true.

Brown’s campaign did, in fact, miss the payments back in 1992. But when it received notice of the delinquent tax bill, it was paid off within a few months. A state record keeping mix-up stated the bill was unpaid in 2005, which is why DeWine and the GOP made the mess an issue.

OK, so the Republicans aired a commercial that incorporated state records that later turned out to be faulty. No harm, no foul, right? How would they have known differently based on the records, which they could assume to be correct?

The problem is, once they learned the state was in error, they refused to pull the commercial. On Wednesday, Brown repeatedly asked his opponent to yank the offending ad, according to The Plain Dealer. It was only after television stations across the state began refusing to show the spots that DeWine and the National Committee changed them

By delaying, even after they knew they were wrong, thousands of potential voters saw the false charges.

In elections, all kinds of accusations are made. Some are true. Some distort facts slightly. Some are even flat out lies.

In this case, it looks as if the Republicans initially thought they had the truth.

But once they knew they were wrong, the delay only served to maximize the damage from this mistake.

With the stakes so high for both parties, negative campaigning is here to stay. But let’s keep it honest. The voters — your constituents — deserve that much.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.