CASPER, Wyo. — A Republican state lawmaker from Casper and his Democratic opponent are both criticizing a political action committee’s radio advertisement that mentions the incumbent’s drunken driving arrest.
The PAC called Citizens for a Better Wyoming began running the spot this week mentioning the December 2008 case against Rep. Bunky Loucks. The ad notes he supported legislation to require ultrasounds for women seeking abortions while opposing a bill that made it a crime for drivers to refuse alcohol tests.
“Maybe that’s because Bunky has never been pregnant,” a man says in the advertisement. “But he has been arrested for drunk driving and convicted of resisting arrest. Bunky’s votes are all about Bunky.”
The Casper Star-Tribune reported that Loucks pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and interference. He was convicted of interference and received a deferred prosecution on the DUI charge, which was dismissed in 2010.
Democrat Mike Gilmore, a former legislator, is challenging Loucks and said he has nothing to do with the advertisement. The DUI advertisement and a second ad that criticized Loucks for missed votes began playing Monday on KTWO Radio.
“I think it’s terrible,” Loucks said Tuesday. “It’s a personal attack, trying to smear me.”
Gilmore said he learned of the advertisement Monday. He said he called the radio station and was told that a PAC was behind the radio spots. He said he is worried that the negative ads would hurt him by angering voters.
“I was looking for an honest and fair fight,” Gilmore said. “And it’s still a fair fight. The truth is, what they said about Bunky is factual. But no way would I ever put that on the radio.”
E. Jayne Mockler, chairwoman of the PAC and a former Democratic legislator from Cheyenne, said the group intends the ad to highlight Loucks’ inconsistent voting record. She questioned why Loucks supported legislation that would have required doctors to offer women an unnecessary medical procedure but opposed more intrusive DUI laws.
“If you run as a limited government candidate, we expect you to be consistent,” she said.
Mockler said the PAC was supporting moderate Democrats and Republicans in races against extreme conservatives. The group paid for advertisements supporting Sen. Charlie Scott, R-Casper, against a challenge from Rep. Bob Brechtel, R-Casper, she said. Scott won by a narrow margin.
Mockler said the group didn’t coordinate with Gilmore in running the advertisement against Loucks. She said she didn’t expect the ads to hurt Gilmore, despite his own concerns.
“We would like, as we go forward, to show more races where there is a glaring inconsistency,” Mockler said. “You have to defend your record and be accountable for it.”
Loucks said he believes it’s unfair to tie his arrest to his opposition to the DUI bill. He said he opposed the DUI legislation because it allowed authorities to forcibly take body fluids from suspects. Performing ultrasounds before abortions would provide women information, rather than be an intrusion, Loucks said.