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This article ran in full on MichiganMessenger.com.
The race for Michigan’s next attorney general went from spirited to ugly Oct. 18.
Debbie McIntosh, the mother of a murder victim who appears in a television commercial condemning Democratic nominee David Leyton and supporting Republican nominee Bill Schuette, allegedly posted an anti-semitic rant in the comments section of a Flint Journal story on Oct. 16. The screed was posted by a person using the handle AdamsMom, and identifying themselves as McIntosh.
The post read, in part: “… how dare the FLINT URINAL not show me the respect to get my side of the story, instead of ONE SIDE,,,oh A JEWISH OWNED PAPER,,,,and LEYTON IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE JEWISH FEDERATION,,,,FLINT JOURNAL you should be ashamed of youself,,,I will never ever give you the time of day again ever……stay away from me, your as bad as the liars when you do not print both sides.”
She made a very similar statement under her real name on the Flint Journal’s Facebook page, saying, “why are you not reporting this stuff flint journal…because the flint journal is JEWISH OWNED and leyton is the president of the jewish federation.”
Calls to McIntosh by the Michigan Messenger were not returned.
Leyton’s campaign sent letters on Monday to both the Schuette campaign and the Michigan GOP demanding that they disassociate themselves from McIntosh.
Leyton Campaign Manager Todd Cook of Mainstreet Strategies, a Democratic consulting firm in Lansing, wrote to Schuette that his camp should “repudiate Ms. McIntosh and her statement; cease making use of her attacks against Mr. Leyton as part of your campaign; demand that the Michigan Republican Party immediately cease making use of Ms. McIntosh in any advertising attacking Mr. Leyton and promoting your candidacy; insist that the Michigan Republican Party broadcast an equal number of advertisements explaining to voters that it now knows that Ms. McIntosh is motivated by anti-Semitism in her attacks against Mr. Leyton.”
Very similar language was used in a letter sent to Michigan GOP chair Ron Weiser.
“The comments I read on the Flint Journal were racist and anti-semitic,” said Leyton in an interview with Messenger. “For Bill Schuette and the Republicans to allow that is really a shame.”
“Either the Republicans and Mr. Schuette knew the type of person they were using,” said Leyton, “or they just don’t care.”
The state GOP shot back at Leyton and his campaign Monday evening, according to the Flint Journal.
“To drag this woman through the mud because of Mr. Leyton’s incompetence clearly shows the campaign’s desperation,” said state Republican Party spokesperson Jennifer Hoff. “Mr. Leyton should apologize to Mrs. McIntosh for such awful accusations.”
The Flint Journal is also reporting that McIntosh made similar statements on the newspaper’s Facebook page.
McIntosh claims that Leyton offered a plea deal to Horatio Brown in exchange for his testimony against two others allegedly involved in the shooting of her son. Leyton says no such promise was made, and that McIntosh signed off on the deal so Brown would serve up to 22 years in prison for manslaughter.
Both the Flint Police Department, which investigated the case originally, and the Michigan State Police have supported Leyton’s pubic statements that there was not evidence to prosecute anyone else for the murder of McIntosh’s son.
The Flint Journal comment may not be the only biased comment from McIntosh. A YouTube member identified by the handle “debsoldit” and identified in comments as McIntosh, wrote the following comment on video of a radio appearance she did on Flint Talk Radio for the Schuette campaign:
“And your an insult to all GAY people if you think what happened to your gay friend Armstrong is worse than my son being 6 feet in the ground…. I am tired of hearing gay people whine and cry, they are such little girls, GROW UP AND BE A MAN”
The statement was apparently in response to a statement about the tiff between Schuette and Leyton regarding Andrew Shirvell, the beleaguered assistant attorney general who has been running a blog attacking openly gay University of Michigan Student Assembly President Chris Armstrong. Shirvell’s blog and associated behavior garnered national attention when Anderson Cooper featured an interview with Shirvell on CNN.
Leyton issued a press statement calling for Shirvell to be fired immediately and called on Schuette to join him in that call. Schuette declined to weigh in.
Shirvell has since taken what Republican Attorney General Mike Cox characterized as a “voluntary leave of absence” from his post in the AG’s office. Cox has said when Shirvell returns he will face disciplinary proceedings under the civil service rules for state employees.
“I was unaware of the YouTube video,” Leyton said. “But I was the first person to call for Andrew Shirvell to be fired … I believe discrimination in any form is wrong.”
“Just how far are Schuette and the Republicans willing to go to smear an opponent? We don’t have the answer to that yet but they may be close to hitting bottom,” said David Holtz, executive director of Progress Michigan. “On the Internet they accused David Leyton of ‘relishing’ crime, which is an absurd accusation. They then exploited an obviously distraught mother who lost her son, using her to attack Leyton. Now they rise in defense of anti-Semitism. What’s next? We’ll have to see.”