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A campaign mailer from Democratic state Sen. Edd Houck accusing his opponent, Republican Bryce Reeves, of sending jobs to China has been getting some attention over the past couple of weeks, and now Reeves is calling on Houck to stop using it.
The mailer claims Reeves is "a front man for billionaires who send our jobs to China."
The mailer shows a photo of Reeves smiling, placed against a backdrop of a map of China. It says, "Bryce Reeves served as chairman of a partisan group bankrolled by a New York billionaire who laid off hundreds of rural Virginia workers and sent their jobs to China in order to increase profits."
Houck is also running TV ads with a similar message.
The problem with the ad, says the political fact-checking service Politifact, is that the ad is false.
The service, which the Richmond Times-Dispatch is a part of, researches and reports on ads and claims made by political figures.
About Houck's ad, Politifact said: "Houck uses a flimsy logic to conclude Reeves 'is OK' with shipping Virginia jobs to China.
"We rate the claim False."
The mailer refers to a Waynesboro plant owned by a company called Invista. In 2008 Invista closed part of the plant in Waynesboro, and opened a new plant in China. According to an Invista spokeswoman, the plant in Waynesboro still produces Lycra fiber and employs 500 people. The closure of a portion of the plant, which made nylon, resulted in some 342 jobs being lost.
Invista is owned by Koch Industries, which also owns a lot of other companies in industries ranging from chemicals and refining to financial trading, ranching and business development, according to its website.
Koch Industries is a privately held company owned by the Koch brothers, a pair of conservative billionaires who have been directing their money toward conservative political causes and groups.
One of those groups is Americans for Prosperity, a national group that advocates for lower taxes, less government spending and smaller government overall. The Kochs are involved with and help to fund AFP, which has an active Virginia branch.
Reeves has served as regional chairman for AFP, which this week had a post on its website criticizing Houck's record on taxes.
Houck's campaign manager, Craig Bieber, said yesterday that Koch Industries has a history of outsourcing, that AFP has opposed ending tax breaks that encourage companies to outsource, and that AFP advocates privatizing Social Security and Medicare.
"[Reeves] should have known what he was getting into from Americans for Prosperity," Bieber said.
Reeves has been quiet about the mailer until now, but put out a statement yesterday calling on Houck to discontinue the ads and mailers.
"This is exactly what's wrong with career politicians like Edd Houck who will say or do anything to stay in power," Reeves said. "Rather than talk about how we fix the economy, lower taxes and move Virginia forward, he would rather purposely mislead voters about me."
Chelyen Davis: 540/368-5028