Bill Ketron said the decision by his Democratic rival’s campaign to impersonate him in mass emails didn’t particularly harm his re-election bid.
However, it’s likely sunk Debbie Matthews’ own chances, he predicted.
“I think it really put a hole in the bow of her ship,” the Murfreesboro Republican said.
Ketron, who filed suit against the Matthews campaign Oct. 11, said he was pleased that a Maury County judge earlier this week determined that the Matthews’ campaign had likely violated Tennessee’s Personal Rights Protection Act, and warned against any further such shenanigans. Ketron said Thursday he’ll wait until after the election to determine whether to pursue future legal action.
Should all go well for him come Tuesday, Ketron said he’ll consider using the incident as a catalyst “to clean up election laws” when the Legislature convenes in 2011.
Judge Robert Holloway wrote that the Matthews campaign “knowingly and intentionally infringed upon Bill Ketron’s name, without his consent, to deceive email recipients into believing they had received an email from Bill Ketron.”
The judge concluded that the subterfuge — which involved sending out blast emails from an account (email@example.com) that Matthews’ campaign manager, Chris Atkins, admitted he’d set up to impersonate the District 13 senator in September — was conducted “for purposes of fundraising.” Holloway also surmised, however, that Matthews didn’t know about the creation of the sham email account until after she was confronted about it by Ketron in a debate, during which she denied any knowledge of the spoofery.
Even though Matthews had likely gained traction resulting from press coverage of her criticisms of Ketron’s high per-diem collections, the incumbent senator expressed confidence that voters who were perhaps “on the bubble, or maybe even looking at her, have probably cut and run.”
Atkins was quoted in a local news report Wednesday acknowledging that his actions were “politically a disastrous move.” The article also quoted Matthews saying “(the judge) found that I had no knowledge of this email, and this proves that Ketron filed a frivolous, headline-grabbing lawsuit because he doesn’t want to talk about his per diems, he doesn’t want to talk about jobs or any of the real issues facing the people of this district.”