Candidate Bob Horning said Tuesday he feels no need to apologize to Clatsop Community College over his political advertisement.
The ad, which ran in The Daily Astorian Friday, accused his opponent, state Sen. Betsy Johnson, of getting the college presidency for Larry Galizio in return for prior support when he served in the state Legislature.
The statement outraged college board members Dirk Rohne, Frank Satterwhite and Stephen Berk, who sought an apology.
"As for an apology to the college, there is no need to do that," said Horning, a Republican first-time candidate from North Plains. "How can they possibly demand an apology?"
He said former college board member Larry Sparks -?who resigned immediately after Galizio's selection on a 6-1 vote - filled him in on details about why he felt the hiring process was "corrupt."
"I?talked to him later - the whole thing was all about paybacks," he added.
The ad asked numerous questions of Johnson and fellow Democrat Deborah Boone, who faces Lew Barnes in the state House race. Because the ad was topped by a photograph of empty chairs - and the headline "Missing in Action" - many took it to imply that the two incumbents did not show up for a debate hosted by the Seaside Chamber of Commerce. In fact, no debate took place. The women both said they were unable to change their schedules to fit in another debate.
Johnson and Boone were angered by the deception. Horning and Barnes have since apologized to the chamber, but both have been dismayed by the negative publicity.
"The whole thing is getting ridiculous," said Horning, who has been in the spotlight since Friday when he and fellow GOP?member Barnes placed the advertisement in The Daily Astorian.
Horning said he believes he is "neck-and-neck" going into the election with Johnson next week. He said in his final campaign engagements he will continue to stress his belief in the need for the state Legislature to make jobs Oregon's No. 1 priority.