PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Election Day is Tuesday, and all 100 House of Delegate seats are up for grabs.
The race for the 93rd District pits Democratic incumbent Mike Mullin against Republican Heather Cordasco.
It’s getting attention because of one ad targeting Mullin that digs deep into his past, going back to the days when he was playing beer pong in college.
Mullin says the ad is dirty politics, that it turns people off and it is unfair throughout.
We visited Mullin at his campaign headquarters in Newport News to sit down and talk about the ad everyone is talking about.
The Cordasco commercial begins with her telling us that she sponsored the ad.
The ad then states: “Your family safety. Nothing is more important, but Mike Mullin, his actions hurt our community and promote crime.”
Promote crime? Mullin says that statement is false. The Truth Tracker notes Mullin is an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Suffolk.
Mullin argues he doesn’t promote crime, he prosecutes it.
“I have devoted my life to keeping our community safe,” Mullin said.
The commercial continues: “Mullin voted to allow sanctuary cities in Virginia, letting criminal illegal aliens to go free in our neighborhoods rather than deporting them.”
It is true Mullin voted with Democrats on sanctuary cities, “I voted against that bill this year, and I think the reason there are not sanctuary cities in Virginia it’s like trying to ban unicorns…there aren’t any.”
That may very well be true, but there is an old political adage, “in politics if you are explaining, then you are losing.” Democrats including gubernatorial candidate and current Lt. Governor Ralph Northam are finding that out the hard way, trying to explain the vote. Mullin says as a policy he does oppose sanctuary cities.
“Look, I prosecuted criminal illegal aliens, convicted them, and then they have been deported,” Mullin said.
The Cordasco ad continues: “Mike Mullin, he isn’t taking your safety seriously.”
Suddenly a young Michael Mullin pops up, with his shirt raised in front of a beer pong game in progress.
“I was pretty offended by it,” Mullin said.
Mullin says Cordasco’s ad goes over the top when she taps into his college photos.
He’s now 36.
“This is the kind of dirty politics, is the kind of thing that prevents good people from wanting to get into politics,” he said.
Mullin dismisses the ad as trivial and is confident voters agree.
“I think when people see an ad where they are showing a photo of me from my 20s, even before I lost all this hair, I think everybody has been to a party when they were in their 20s.”
Cordasco may be running that ad a lot on air, but she also ran from us over the course of two days as we tried to get in touch with her and the campaign to set up an interview. After calls, emails and a trip to her campaign headquarters, Cordasco’s team responded via email on Friday at 4 p.m.
The statement reads:
“The ad is accurate and factual or we would not be running it. None of the images have been altered. Fact: Mullin voted for sanctuary cites, opposed Virginia’s voter ID law, and has been campaigning during work hours. Delegate Mullin’s office refused to answer a legitimate FOIA dated back to June. His office has still failed to comply with the FOIA. Now, days before the election, his office offers a “testimonial” from his boss to excuse his campaigning during work hours. Had Delegate Mullin not tried to conceal this information over the summer, he wouldn’t be trying to make fresh excuses for his behavior now.”
But Mullin doesn’t agree.
“I don’t think it was a fair hit . It was inappropriate. I think it turns people off to politics in general,” Mullin said.
We then asked whether he thinks the ad turns her off to voters. Ater a short pause, Mullin answered: “Yes, I do.”