Most people know by now that the Democratic Primary in Michigan's 3rd Congressional district is a matchup between former State Representative & Circuit Court Judge Steve Pestka and former Granholm staffer Trevor Thomas. The race started off as a typical primary battle between a more progressive candidate (Thomas) vs a moderate one (Pestka), but as nearly every Democrat in West Michigan (and throughout the state) has backed Pestka, Thomas' campaign has gone completely off the rails and is now becoming destructive for Democrats' chances in general to unseat Justin Amash in November.
The bulk of Thomas' campaign has been about labeling Pestka as an anti-choice, anti-woman candidate. The irony in that, of course, is that Pestka has the backing of nearly every female progressive that's endorsed in the race (Gretchen Whitmer, Jocelyn Benson, Kate Segal, etc...). Yet, we see Thomas continue to cite a vague vote from 12 years ago in the State House that he claims shows Pestka tried to defund Planned Parenthood. Of course, a minimal amount of research shows that wasn't the case and in fact Pestka voted for budgets that increased funding for Planned Parenthood during his time at the Capitol.
Seemingly tired of playing defense, the Pestka campaign released a new commercial yesterday that takes a shot back at Thomas highlighting a portion of Thomas' plan that would raise the social security retirement age. You can see the ad for yourself here:
While the ad seems fairly straightfoward, Thomas' response, however, shows him going completely unhinged:
"GRAND RAPIDS, MI - Trevor Thomas's campaign for Congress released the following statement and fact check in response to an attack ad Steve Pestka released today. Additionally, counsel for the Thomas campaign sent notice to stations broadcasting the advertisement advising that the advertisement constitutes defamation under Michigan Law and requesting that the stations require substantiation and cease running the spots immediately. "Defamation? Demanding stations cease running the commercial? Awfully strong language to use unless you are 100% sure you're in the right. Unfortunately, once again, this is proving to be another case of Thomas' destructive campaign that only serves to embarrass himself and potentially help the Republicans come November.
The Pestka campaign was quick to release the justification for the ad, and it's very self explanatory. The statement in question in the ad is that Thomas "supports raising the social security retirement age," and while Thomas may not like hearing it used against him, here's the statement taken from his own plan on his website (note: he has since edited the text on his website to try to downplay the statement, but this is the screencapture of his site before that took place with the statement in question underlined)
Yes, the "lie" Thomas' campaign is now alleging against Pestka's campaign, their justification for legal action to remove the commercial from the airwaves, is taken directly from Thomas' own plan.
The sad thing about Thomas' campaign is that this could and should have been a positive race focused on ensuring Democrats have the strongest candidate possible to take out far-right extremist Justin Amash in November. Instead, Mr. Thomas is only guaranteeing that this primary becomes costly in more ways than one for the Democrats.
Prominent Democrats have already called on Thomas to stop lying about Pestka's record during the primary, but based on this latest action it seems that not only is he unwilling to do that, but when Pestka tells the truth about Thomas' own record, he's going to continue to lie about that as well.