Cooper pushes back on Instragram attack ads, defends legislative record against He claims

October 19, 2018 |

For most voters in Elk Grove, the race for the California State Assembly 9th District has for the most part flown below the radar. The current seat-holder, Democratic Assemblymember Jim Cooper cruised through the June primary with only token opposition and is believed to the prohibitive favorite in the November general election.

Nonetheless, Cooper's Democratic opponent, Harry He, has in recent days ramped up his campaign, at least on one social media platform promoting his candidacy. In a series of slides presented in a video ad on Instagram (see video below), He has gone on the attack against the two-term office holder.

The ads imply many negative things about Cooper, who previous to being in the Assembly, was on the Elk Grove City Council for 14 years and retired in 2014 as a captain with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department capping a 30 year career. The ad claims among other things that Cooper is guilty of sexual harassment, has taken money from tobacco companies and energy giant Chevron.

One of the sexual harassment claim presented in the ad dates to an October 2009, story in the Sacramento News and Review. In a bit of misleading graphics, the headline saying Sacramento News and Review in the ad has the same font as the Sacramento Bee.

The 2009 story was published in the time leading up to Cooper's run for Sacramento County Sheriff against Scott Jones. Both Cooper and Jones' records with the sheriff's department were scrutinized during that race in which Jones prevailed.   

Another assertion of sexual harassment used in He's ad uses the Sacramento Bee and references with an image to a story from January 26, 2018. The story does not mention Cooper, who was never accused of sexual harassment during the controversies that roiled that State Capitol about a year ago, and the story appears to be about payouts to victims of harassment. 

In both cases, the screen graphic is captioned saying "Jim Cooper Guilty - Sexual Harassment." As of the 3:30 a.m. today, the video ad showed 885 views. 

Other assertions in this ad, which features a picture of Cooper with his eyes blacked-out, says he accepted $4,400 from Chevron. A donation in that amount was received by Cooper's current campaign committee on December 12, 2017.

It also asserts that Cooper broke a pledge to the American Cancer Society to never accept money from tobacco companies. While Cooper did accept a $4,400 donation by tobacco giant Altria on October 13, 2017, Secretary of State information verified the donation was returned 10 days later. 

Expanding the sexual harassment theme, He also attempts bonding Cooper to President Trump and former Alabama Supreme Court Justice and senatorial candidate, Roy Moore. Trump has on numerous occasion before and after his election dealt with claims of harassment, while conservative Moore lost his bid for the Senate against Doug Jones in part after he was alleged to harassed underage teenage girls.

Responding to He's claims, Cooper vigorously defended his record and characterized He's attacks as a repeat of the same tactic deployed during last June's primary where Mr. He came in second place. 

"Harry He is back to misleading voters and using the same deceptive and false tactics he used in the primary," Cooper said.

Cooper cited his legislative record which includes authoring bills for pay equity for women, several pieces of legislation relating to climate change and air quality. Among those bills was Assembly Bill 630 which addressed poor air quality in disadvantaged communities by providing financial incentives and accessibility to electric and clean-air vehicles and Assembly Bill 334 that extended the statute of limitations of sex assault.

"Since being elected to the Assembly in 2014, I have authored legislation combating climate change and investing in renewable energy, protecting victims of sexual assault, attaining pay equity for women, and keeping e-cigarettes out of our kid’s hands," Cooper stated. "I stand by my voting record including supporting California’s strongest sexual harassment protection legislation in history. It’s for these reasons why all the major organizations representing nurses, teachers, public employees, and public safety personnel have all endorsed my re-election campaign."

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