Former congressional candidate Chris Mitchum is suing Rep. Lois Capps for defamation, alleging that her campaign ran ads taking his comments out of context, a move he says ultimately cost him the election.
Mitchum, who challenged Capps last fall for the 24th Congressional District seat, lost the race during a close election against the 16-year incumbent.
On Tuesday, he announced that he had filed a lawsuit against Capps for defamation of character based on ads that were run during the campaign, airing quotes from Mitchum, which he maintains were out of context and placed him in a false light.
The suit names Capps, Friends of Lois Capps, as well as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as defendants, and maintains that two ads run during the campaign “deliberately edited Mitchum’s filmed and audio comments so as to completely alter and falsify what candidate Chris Mitchum actually said.”
“Editing film clips and sound bites to alter their meaning is like forging a signature,” Mitchum’s attorney, Joshua Lynn, said in a statement Tuesday, noting that the DCCC is also being sued for defamation by activist Sheldon Adelson.
Bill Carrick, Capps for Congress campaign consultant, said Tuesday that Capps had not been served with the claim and therefore hadn’t had a chance to read it, but “she is proud of the campaign she ran and is confident there is no validity to this frivolous lawsuit.”
The lawsuit states that Mitchum had done a 2012 interview with Cal Poly TV, in which he stated, “I do not intend to go to Washington to represent the 24th district to bring back baseball fields, that’s not why I am going. I am going to fight for my country and I happen to be from the 24th district.”
The lawsuit maintains that Mitchum had a narrow lead when the Capps campaign began running ads with a clipped version of Mitchum’s statement, in which he only said “I do not intend to go to Washing to represent the 24th district” and then the ad maintains that Mitchum will represent Tea Party advocates.
“The editing changed the meaning of the statement to make voters believe that, by his own words, Mitchum had no intention of doing his job if elected, and essentially stated he would use the elected office for his own purposes, not those of his district,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit also takes issue with the DCCC purchasing a large amount of advertising, $100,000 worth in the final weekend of the campaign. Capps and the DCCC should not have any contact with each other since the DCCC is an “independent expenditure committee.”
The ads didn’t feature Capps visually or add her audio endorsement to the ads, so the lawsuit maintains that either the DCCC changed the content of the ad and didn’t have Capps’ permission or cooperated with Capps and her congressional committee.
Mitchum said in a statement sent out Tuesday that almost every day, people from both political parties “express disbelief at the brazen campaign improprieties of the Capps regime.”
No matter the political party; they know right from wrong,” he said, calling on Capps to “immediately resign her congressional seat.”