Holland, OH – In a recent ad launched against congressional candidate Angela Zimmann, incumbent Congressman Bob Latta used clips from Zimmann’s ad to attack his opponent. Now, the women featured in those clips are joining together to criticize Congressman Latta for using their images without their permission.
Earlier this week, a group of Zimmann supporters hosted a press conference at the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 75 to speak out against Latta for using their images to attack Zimmann.
One woman who was used in Latta’s ad without her permission, Jill Baker, said she was shocked to see herself appear in a Latta for Congress ad when she supports Zimmann.
“Congressman Latta took away my choice and used my image to attack the candidate I support,” Baker said. “And for that, Congressman Latta should be ashamed.”
In addition to the women who were used in Latta’s commercial without their consent, members of the UFCW Local 75 also attended Monday’s press conference to express their support for Zimmann’s campaign. Zimmann is endorsed by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.
Zimmann also spoke at Monday’s event in support of these women, also criticizing Congressman Latta for misusing the images of her supporters.
“These are women who support my candidacy because they have grown tired of my opponent’s shortsighted partisanship,” Zimmann said. “For Congressman Latta to use them without their permission is simply wrong.”
Another woman whose image was used in Latta’s ad, Susan Cruea, called Latta’s congressional offices to request her image be removed from the ad, but was not given any straightforward response.
Instead, Cruea received a letter from attorney Dale V. Bring, stating, “At this juncture, what is important for you to understand is that once you appeared in a political advertisement for Congressman Latta’s opponent you became a ‘limited purpose public figure.’”
The letter continues, “A limited purpose public figure is well defined in the law as someone who is not so famous as to be a household name, but who has become well known with regard to a particular issue or in this case a campaign. Therefore, Congressman Latta is well within his rights to use you in his campaign advertisements.”
Congressman Latta has remained silent on the issue, instead deferring to his campaign manager and congressional staffer Ryan Walker to provide statements reiterating Bring’s “limited purpose public figure” explanation.
In Congressman Latta’s ad, Latta accuses Zimmann of hiding behind others – the women – to distort his record in Congress. However, Zimmann stands by her ad and encourages her opponent to participate in a debate so that the two can discuss his record at the issues at length.
“If Congressman Latta feels that I’ve misrepresented his record in Congress, I once again extend an invitation to discuss his votes and these issues in a public debate,” Zimmann said.
Zimmann, who originally challenged her opponent to a debate via certified mail, has also asked Congressman Latta in person to debate her. However, Latta continues to avoid acknowledging the debate challenge.
To date, it’s been 63 days since Latta’s office received Zimmann’s debate challenge letter.