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Candidate Speaks Out Against Mysterous Attack Mailer

As an attorney for the state Republican party, Bilinda Harris-Ritter knows politics can be a dirty sport . But, she says, a flyer mailed to voters in her Pulaski County Justice of the Peace race goes too far.
Pulaski County, AR -- As an attorney for the state Republican party, Bilinda Harris-Ritter knows politics can be a dirty sport .  But, she says, a flyer mailed to voters in her Pulaski County Justice of the Peace race goes too far.

It attacks Harris-Ritter for her time on the California parole board faulting her for releasing violent criminals.

"The thing that was most offensive to me was calling me soft on crime," Harris-Ritter said.  "I've done a lot of work on crime victim rights in Arkansas since 1981 when my parents were murdered here at our home in Stone County.

Making matters worse is the picture used on the flyer.

"The picture they have of me... is from a clemency petition that the murderer of my parents had filed," Harris-Ritter said.

The back the flyer says paid for by the Friends of Paul Elliot.  He's the two-term incumbent in the Republican Primary.

"I have never seen the flyer before," Paul Elliot said Saturday.  "I didn't even know anything about it."

Elliot's campaign reports show an undated expenditure for "door hangers and mailouts," but he insists that was for a flyer touting his re-election not for attacking his opponent.

"I don't approve of anything like that," Elliot said.

Harris-Ritter says she wants answers and plans to file a complaint with the state ethics commission on Monday.

"If he didn't do it himself, certainly he knows who his friends are and he can find out which ones of them did it," she said.

"That I couldn't tell you," Elliot said when asked if the mailer was the doing of a friend or political ally.  "I don't know anything about it, so how could I tell you if it was a friend or enemy."

The mailer does not have an address on it as required by state election law and Friends of Paul Elliot is not registered with the state or county.
   
As for her work on the parole board, Harris-Ritter say her job was to follow the law and sometimes that meant granting inmates release.  But, she says, her work with victim rights organizations shows she takes crime seriously.
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