Rehoboth Commissioner Campaign Takes A Negative Turn

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An outraged Gary Glass has been fighting back this past weekend after an anonymous letter was mailed to many Rehoboth Beach registered voters misleading his viewpoints. “An illegal, anonymous campaign letter has been mailed to Rehoboth Beach voters, which makes false statements about me and my positions, and which endorses the other two candidates by name,” Glass states.

Richard Byrne, Pat Coluzzi and Glass are competing for the two soon-to-be-open commissioner seats in Rehoboth Beach. The election is this coming Saturday, August 11.

Candidates for Rehoboth Beach commissioner, Richard Byrne, Pat Coluzzi and Gary Glass at the July 27 Rehoboth Beach Homeowners’ Association candidate forum. Image courtesy WGMD/Alan Henney

Glass is calling on the other two candidates to “disavow this illegal election activity by their supporter, and to do everything in their power to publicly identify that person who is responsible for this false and anonymous letter. A candidate has the responsibility to control his or her campaign. The other candidates in Rehoboth cannot put their head in the sand about this serious violation of election law by their supporter.”

Voters have been receiving this letter in the mail in handwritten envelopes with a July 31 postmark. Glass is providing this response he has been sending to Rehoboth voters “pointing out specific falsehoods in the letter.”

Glass said immediately after he learned of the letter, he contacted Bo McDowell, the Sussex County Director of the Delaware Department of Elections on Friday, August 3. He noted that he filed a written complaint, which has been sent to the State Commissioner of Elections, Elaine Manlove.

Not only is this anonymous letter categorically false, Glass states, it violates the state election laws. He points out that an anonymous letter like this constitutes an illegal election advertisement because it does not comply with the attribution requirement that requires all election material to state who has paid for the advertisement.

If the other candidates or their advisors had any role in this mailing or knowledge of it, they must report this to the Commissioner of Elections identifying the person who paid for the mailing and the cost of the mailing as a campaign contribution, he said. Given the expense of a mailing like this, Glass points out, it probably violates the contribution limits. The city has about 1700 registered voters.

“If the other candidates and their advisors had no knowledge, then the person who is behind this mailing is violating the law by failing to file a third-party advertisement report with the Commissioner of Elections,” Glass adds.

Byrne said this past weekend that he did not know who sent the letter or to whom it was sent. “I personally will not be involved in any negative campaigning or negative comments,” Byrne stated.

“I’m running for the future of our city and for the residents and the businesses, and not against anyone,” he added. “I disapprove of any activity that brings an element of negativity to this campaign. We should all be above negativity in this campaign.”

“It saddens me that an anonymous letter was sent out with such negative campaigning,” says Coluzzi. “This has no place in our community. Candidates should run on their experience, background and record. We are better than that,” she added.

Because the election is less than a week away, Glass says “it is urgent that we inform the public about this illegal violation of election law in Rehoboth Beach. In this country, our elections and the democratic process are under attack on multiple fronts, and it is extremely sad to see that someone in our local community is joining the attack on democracy.”