Misleading Mailer Roils Prince William Delegate Race

By Mike Tunison
|  Friday, Oct 23, 2009  |  Updated 3:19 PM EDT
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Misleading Mailer Roils Prince William Delegate Race

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Surprise! Nastiness has come to the race for the 51st House of Delegates seat in Virginia. GOP challenger Rich Anderson sent out roughly 15,000 mailers within the northeastern Prince William County district which displayed the arrest record of Democratic incumbent Paul F. Nichols.

Problem is, it included a 2006 charge that had been removed from the public record, as well as personal information about Nichols, including his Social Security number, according to InsideNoVA.com.

The Democrat was on a golf trip to the Outer Banks with a group of friends when one of their cars was pulled over on the suspicion that the driver was drunk.

The driver passed field sobriety tests, though, and wasn't charged.

But Nichols, who was a passenger in a car following behind, jumped out to see what was happening.

Then he was arrested on charges including assault of a police officer.

On these details, challenger and incumbent can agree.

But Nichols said he was the victim in the scenario, not the aggressor. He said the officer threw him to the ground, bloodying his nose.

And, he said, a judge later dismissed all charges. The policeman involved not only didn't show up in court, Nichols said, he wasn't even on the Southern Shores, N.C., force by then.

Anderson said he was aware the charges against Nichols were dismissed but said he felt that citizens should know anyway that Nichols was arrested at some point. Even if wasn't a rightful arrest. Which isn't underhanded at all. No, it's true. All voters need to know when politicians are punished for doing nothing wrong. But only if they're informed of such incidents in a way that provides no helpful context. Thanks for the public service, Rich.

A lawyer who supports Nichols is currently looking into whether action can be taken against Anderson for disseminating false information. So this revelation may turn out to be more trouble than it was worth.

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