An area Assemblyman said Wednesday that a candidate looking to succeed him is using unethical campaign advertising.
Assemblyman Clifford Crouch, a Chenango County Republican whose 122nd Assembly District includes parts of Chenango, Delaware, Otsego and Broome counties, issued a media release accusing Republican candidate Nicholas Libous of "unethical campaign advertising" and said he is taking legal action after Libous "ignored repeated requests to cease and desist using (Crouch's) name or image over the past several months."
Libous is one of four Republicans running to replace Crouch, who is not seeking re-election.
Crouch has announced his endorsement of former Norwich Police Chief Joseph Angelino to succeed him. Victor Furman and James Powers will also appear on the Republican primary ballot. A Democrat, Richard Shaw of Downsville, has also filed petitions to run for the seat.
Crouch said Wednesday that "misleading television and radio advertisements" on several Southern Tier stations and cable systems were created and placed for Libous by Binghamton area advertising agency Ad Elements. He also said the Libous campaign has sent glossy mailings to thousands of area voters and published paid ads on Facebook.
Crouch told The Daily Star Wednesday that Libous has ignored a "cease and desist order" drafted by Crouch's attorney. He said his next step, if the ads continue, will be in state Supreme Court in Broome County.
"We're looking to have an injunction at this point in time," he said.
The advertisements, Crouch said, prominently feature Crouch’s name and face, "and clearly intend to mislead voters into believing that Crouch is supporting Libous’s political campaign for State Assembly," the media release said.
“Let me be crystal clear: I do not support Nick Libous for State Assembly," Crounch said. "His deceitful campaign is everything that’s wrong with politics. He and anyone associated with these misleading ads should be ashamed of themselves and need a lesson on basic ethics.”
Crouch said he "politely and privately" asked Libous to remove Crouch’s name and image from all campaign materials in response to a Libous campaign Facebook ad "that falsely implied Crouch’s support for Libous." Crouch claimed Libous "not only refused to respect his request, but deleted Crouch’s public comment on the Facebook page, depriving the public of the truth."
“Nick Libous has spent tens of thousands of dollars repeatedly misleading voters. It’s cheating and it’s wrong,”Crouch said in the release. “I’ve made public statements in hopes of voters hearing the truth, but I’m genuinely concerned that the startling amount of money that Libous is spending spreading these untruths means that many voters will hear his lies without hearing the truth from me.”
Crouch called on broadcast media to pull the ads.
“Bad politicians shouldn’t be able to buy elections because they have piles of money to spend with media stations on ads that mislead the public,” he said.
Libous, a son of former state Sen. Thomas Libous, unsuccessfully challenged Crouch for the 122nd District seat in 2018, losing a Republican primary and losing again in the general election, running on the Conservative Party line.
Libous had not returned a message left at the telephone number on his campaign website at the time this story was filed.
Managing Editor Robert Cairns can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-441-7217.