Congressional race in San Diego takes macabre turn

Oct. 29, 2012

By Chris Reed

In the 52nd congressional district, San Diego’s small-government conservatives don’t have all too much to cheer for.

Incumbent Brian Bilbray was part of the 1994 “Contract for America” class of House Republicans who betrayed supporters by turning into blithe big spenders when the Internet boom filled up federal coffers. Democratic challenger Scott Peters, however, is a piece of work — a very well-educated lawyer who tried to blame his central role in San Diego’s pension crisis on the bad advice of his staff. Peters stands for nothing but careerism. The next strong stand he takes will be his first.

I voted for Bilbray without many qualms. But the TV ad he’s started running the last few days that is discussed in this article is as macabre as it gets, and not in a good way.

“Republican Rep. Brian Bilbray is unveiling a new television advertisement featuring an impassioned plea from his 25-year-old daughter to support her father so he can continue to push for cancer research in Washington.

“The campaign ad is likely to attract attention, not all of it positive as some analysts predict viewers may perceive the incumbent as attempting to use his daughter’s battle with cancer to aid his political career.

“The congressman, who plans to spend $250,000 to air the ad beginning Friday, is in a tough re-election fight with Democrat Scott Peters.

“Briana Bilbray was diagnosed with Stage 3 melanoma at age 24 and has become an outspoken advocate for early detection of the disease and the virtues of medical marijuana that she believes soothed her during chemotherapy.

“In the ad, she says her father is bringing both political parties together in the fight against cancer.

“’He’s nationally recognized for his efforts and says it’s the most important thing he’ll ever do,; she says. Several recognitions for the congressman’s work then flash across the screen. ‘I believe him. He’s my dad,’ she adds.

She says the cancer gives her only a 20 percent chance of survival.

“’My dad’s work might not save me, but it could save others,’ she says.

“Then comes the ad’s final line: ‘I’m Brian Bilbray and I approve this ad because some things are more important than politics.'” 

Wow. I hope Briana Bilbray beats the odds, but if I were an undecided voter, this sort of crude appeal would turn me off. The story doesn’t mention that she calls herself a “terminal” cancer patient. Grim stuff.

Tags assigned to this article:
Chris ReedcongressSan DiegoScott PetersBilbray

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