Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Local Republicans Again Aim Attacks at the Wrong Person

COMMENTARY: Bobbye Knoll Peterson is a Democratic candidate for Common Council.  She also manages the Ben Florsheim for Mayor campaign.  Political slurs have been aimed at a family member.  Here's her response directed at Republican mayoral candidate Seb Giuliano.

Yesterday on Joey Fresh’s podcast questions were raised about my bonus kid. This was shocking and unfair for several reasons. 
Let me be very clear, I don’t blame Joey Fresh for the misinformation and you shouldn’t either. 
Let me also share what has been the messaging of Ben Florsheim’s campaign, our time is best spent contacting voters with our message for Middletown, not engaging with everything else that is out there.
Gabriella Forrest is an incredible woman, an incredible friend, and an incredible gift to this family. As with the rest of my family (and the family of candidates on either side of the aisle)she should be off limits.
Given the last six months my family has endured, there was a question of if I should run for office this cycle. I knew they’d be exposed to ugliness. However, I also knew then and I know now, that they are strong.
Here is the open letter I sent to Seb and key members of his ticket yesterday regarding the attacks on Gabby. It is worth noting that the comment referred to in the podcast was a comment that was sent in a private response to a text message sent from Seb’s campaign and not a public comment.

I’ve intentionally avoided contacting you because thus far the lies and mud that have been slung have been slung at Ben, Ed, or I - and we chose this. We knew that campaigns get nasty and we’ve seen the culture of the Republican Party shift over the years.
Where I’d have trouble remaining silent is when for the third time your campaign misidentifies a women and drags her personal life into social media because of sloppy research and a real willingness to disregard the truth. Where I absolutely refuse to remain silent is when you bring my family into it.
Today Ben Florsheim appeared on a podcast with local business owner Joey Fresh. When Republican’s started posting to “tune in” my "spidey" sense knew that there was something amiss. However, Ben is a man of his word and committed to having an honest conversation regardless of my concerns about intention. He genuinely wants the truth to be at the forefront and welcomes all chances to talk to voters.
During the course of the conversation there were several questions asked and implications made about Gabby Forrest. It appears that Mr. Fresh had information from a response to the texts you’ve been sending out to registered Democrats and some other information that would be accessed by a campaign but was confused with another Gabriela (confusing women seems to be a theme of your campaign).
Let me clear a few things up for you.
Gabby has been mine since she was 17. She is as much one of my children as the three who are naturally mine.
Gabby is living back at home because after the loss of her brother and best friend my oldest son Evan, she needed her family. She needed to be close to her younger brothers. Gabby is living at home right now because after the loss of her mother before her 11th birthday the loss of a best friend and sibling made her want to be with family.
Having Gabby home with our family as we try and put the pieces back together has been the best for all of us.
You knew who my Gabby was. We’ve been Facebook friends for years and she’s in all the family pictures and posts and after all at one point I had enough respect for you to invite you to my birthday party - one that Gabby helped plan, but mostly you knew who she was because when you came to my son Evan’s wake in May you offered her your condolences.
You also remembered that Ben had a partner named Gabriela De Golia while at Wesleyan. She was also very engaged in local politics and is on the Democratic list you keep sending emails to.
But, As evidenced with the post about Diana, apparently women sharing a name is enough to attempt to sow seeds of doubt.
Let me be clear, I do not blame Joey Fresh. 
I am confident that he believed that information received from someone who was running for mayor would be vetted. This simply was not. It seems foreign to most of us that someone who purportedly wants to serve this city is so willing to mislead its voters.
Much like the rumor that Ben lives in New Haven, or any of the other spaghetti theory mistruths you’ve had forwarded by surrogates this was something that you hoped folks would just take at face value. Another way to sow seeds of doubt instead of talking issues.
Living in a community together we know each other’s families. We see each other at the Diner, I know your grandson Leo likes cars. 
I know your family, you can count on the fact that they are off limits. I need you to know that my family is also off limits. 
It was unfair to get this message from a young woman who has dealt with so much and I won’t tolerate it.
“I was rattled earlier, for SURE. I felt blindsided, I cried in my car, and I shook a little bit. Then I remembered that nothing they could say or do can scare me because I’ve seen the absolute worst thing can happen, and somehow I am still standing.”
If the Republican ticket really is for all of the residents of Middletown they’ll disavow the attacks on Diana Martinez, the questions about Gabby Forrest and the other misinformation intentionally spread to voters.
“Bobbye Knoll Peterson”

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