The Republican challenger to Delegate Kelly Fowler (D-Virginia Beach) is taking a page out of Trump’s playbook with race-baiting campaign materials.
A recent mail piece from Kane’s campaign falsely pictures Delegate Fowler, who is of Latinx descent, standing with individuals who are implied to be gang members. The mailer is a blatant dog-whistle tactic to use Delegate Fowler’s ethnicity to stoke fears and egregiously indicate she is dangerous to the community.
“It continues to be shocking but is no longer surprising when we see Republicans choosing to stoop to disgusting, false statements to stir up hatred,” said Trevor Southerland, Executive Director of the Virginia House Democratic Caucus. “It is clear that Shannon Kane and her fellow Republicans do not see a path to victory so they are looking to Donald Trump for guidance– but Democrats’ 15 seat pickup in 2017 should tell you how Virginians feel about that.”
A mother of two (soon to be three) daughters and the wife of a law enforcement officer, Delegate Fowler has always prioritized the safety of families in Virginia Beach and across the Commonwealth.
“My great grandfather came from Mexico and I have two grandfathers that immigrated from the Philippines. My opponent chose to present me as a criminal gang member and this is extremely racist. I grew up in a military family and my husband is a law enforcement officer. I believe that if you commit a violent crime in Virginia, you should go to prison, regardless of where you came from,” Delegate Kelly Fowler responded in a statement.
Kane is far from the first Republican candidate to use racist dog-whistles as a campaign tactic. In 2017, fellow Virginia Beach Republican Rocky Holcomb artificially darkened the skin on a stock photo to imply that immigrants pose a threat based on skin color. In the same cycle, the GOP candidate for governor, Ed Gillespie, sent similarly race-baiting mailers. And then last year, there was Corey Stewart.