O’Bannon Sets Record Straight on Opponent’s False Claims
73rd District Delegate calls on Shields to retract inaccuracies in announcement speech
Richmond, VA, August 3, 2009: Delegate John M. O’Bannon III, M.D. (R-Henrico) today urged his opponent, Tom Shields, to “stick to the facts,” calling on Shields to retract several easily verifiable false claims made by the Democrat nominee in his campaign announcement last week.
While asserting in his speech that he wants the contest between himself and O’Bannon to be an “honest dialogue,” Shields claimed that Delegate O’Bannon “has never held town hall meetings, gone door-to-door, or even had a district office.” Contradicting Shields’s claims, O’Bannon has held regular town hall meetings, gone door-to-door, and maintained a district office. And, all of these facts were easily verifiable.
“I have a stack of invitations on my desk documenting no less than ten regular town halls and three tele-town halls held by Delegate O’Bannon in just the last few years,” said O’Bannon for House campaign manager Richie Parsons. In addition to issuing news releases announcing all of the regular town meetings held by Delegate O’Bannon beginning in 2001, they were advertised on HCTV-17, Henrico County’s information cable channel.
Noting that O’Bannon is actively campaigning for reelection, Parsons commented, “The assertion that Dr. O’Bannon hasn’t ‘gone door-to-door’ is absurd. We’ve been knocking on doors since just after the General Assembly concluded its work earlier this year, and Dr. O’Bannon has been knocking on doors and holding meet-and-greets in neighborhoods throughout the 73rd District.”
Archer McGiffin, who has served as Delegate O’Bannon’s Legislative Assistant since 2003, noted that, “We send out constituent surveys every year, and have boxes full of surveys that have been mailed back to us by constituents. We’ve also mailed at least one constituent newsletter every year that I’ve worked for him.”
As for Shields’s false assertion that O’Bannon had never had a district office, McGiffin noted that, “We’ve had a district office open almost continually since Dr. O’Bannon was first elected.”
Delegate O’Bannon expressed his disappointment in the false claims promoted by Shields, commenting, “As someone whose current professional assignment is to ‘infuse leadership studies in the K-12 education field,’ Mr. Shields has set a very poor example. Making false claims about your opponent while conducting an exclusively negative campaign isn’t leadership, and someone in Mr. Shields’s position should – at a minimum – stick to the facts. As a University of Richmond alumnus, I am confident nevertheless that Mr. Shields’s conduct in this particular situation is not representative of the Jepson School.”
Delegate O’Bannon thinks he knows one possible reason why Shields got the facts wrong.
“Maybe Mr. Shields isn’t as familiar with my work on behalf on my constituents because he’s only lived in the 73rd for two years,” remarked O’Bannon. “Since he’s been conducting his campaign for much of that time, he may not have been paying as close attention as he otherwise would have. And because he committed himself to replacing me shortly after moving into the district, I doubt he’s been looking too closely for examples of all I do on behalf of the people of Henrico and Richmond. Maybe if he had asked some of his neighbors, or tuned into HCTV-17 occasionally, or called our office himself, he might have been able to avoid making these demonstrably false claims.
“Still, Mr. Shields has presented the voters with falsehoods instead of facts in a speech in which he called for an ‘honest dialogue.’ Now, he needs to do the right thing by taking responsibility, retracting these claims, and apologizing to the voters for getting his facts so very wrong.”
First elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 2000, John M. O’Bannon III, M.D. represents the 73rd District, which is comprised of portions of Henrico County and the City of Richmond.
Editor’s Note: Now that Tom Shields has the truth in this matter, will he be a leader and admit his errors, or will he continue to take the low road and sling more false accusations towards Dr. O’Bannon. In 1987 when Robert Jepson donated $20 million to the University of Richmond with the stipulation that Leadership be taught, I don’t think this is what he had in mind. And as Delegate O’Bannon said in his press release, this conduct is not something to reflect poorly on the University or the Jepson School of Leadership Studies. They are well above this type of dishonesty. The lack of truthfulness is a reflection strictly on Thomas Shields.