Democrat Paul Hirschbiel and U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Virginia Beach, opponents in the fall election for the 2nd District Congressional seat, exchanged letters Monday asking for positive campaigns.
"Unlike candidates in many congressional races, Paul, you and I are not strangers," Rigell said in his letter to Hirschbiel. "We know each other. We respect each other. We believe the other is sincere in his desire to serve. That level of mutual respect presents us with an uncommon opportunity and a firm foundation upon which to engage in a far more civil and honorable debate, one deserving of those we seek to serve."
Then he made his offer, saying "I propose we agree upon the following:
- We will not question the other's character, compassion or ethics.
- We will not engage in negative campaigning or run ads that mention the other candidate, but rather focus instead on highlighting our respective sets of solutions for America.
We agree that the success of this agreement is dependent on outside groups honoring the spirit and intent of the two candidates. We agree to publicly state our desire for this kind of positive campaign to be reflected in all campaign advertising, including advertising ran by outside groups."
Hirschbiel replied later, with his own set of suggestions.
"I believe it’s imperative that we both agree to run an honest and open campaign that is focused on the facts and the issues," Hirschbiel writes. "With many pressing challenges facing our country, Hampton Roads voters deserve a substantial discussion on these critical issues facing our nation. Therefore, I am proposing the Commonwealth’s Commitment to Honest and Open Campaigns.
- We will have an honest campaign focused on the issues and facts.
- We should ensure that shady outside groups who do not publicly disclose their donors do not run television, radio or web advertisements.
- We will agree that if any outside group, that refuses to publicly disclose their donors, advertises on a candidate’s behalf that one-half the cost of that advertising buy will be donated out of the campaign’s account to a charity of the opponent’s choice.
Hampton Roads will be the ones to hold us accountable if this pledge is broken. "
No word yet as to whether the campaigns have been able to broker an agreement.