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‘She claims to love you’: Roberts releases ad attacking Bush’s voting record

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Roberts and Bush

State Sen. Steve Roberts, D-St. Louis, announced Monday, March 28, 2022 that he will challenge U.S. Rep. Cori Bush, D-Missouri.

JEFFERSON CITY — State Sen. Steve Roberts’ first paid ad in his challenge to U.S. Rep. Cori Bush attacks her voting record and ends with a thud: “Sure she claims to love you, but so did your ex.”

It’s a reference to Bush’s tagline — “your congresswoman loves you” — a statement she often repeats on social media.

“Congresswoman Cori Bush, she claims to love you, but she’s voting against President (Joe) Biden on everything,” the ad begins, citing her votes against the bipartisan infrastructure law and banning fuel imports from Russia.

It’s the first attack ad in the Aug. 2 Democratic primary for the St. Louis-based 1st congressional district.

A spokesperson for Bush’s campaign said the ad contained “tasteless and offensive jokes about abusive relationships” from a “known harasser and abuser who is credibly accused of sexual assault.”

Isra Allison, Bush’s campaign spokesperson, was referencing allegations by Cora Faith Walker, who died in March, that Roberts raped her in 2016; and by Amy Harms, who had accused Roberts of sexual assault. Harms filed a lawsuit in 2017, and the case was settled two years later for $100,000.

Allison said “Rep. Bush has shown her love for St. Louis by passing 25 pieces of legislation in just over a year, delivering millions in funding for community projects, and introducing visionary legislation to help end police brutality.” The campaign didn’t immediately provide more details on the legislation passed.

“Rather than making tasteless and offensive jokes about abusive relationships, Sen. Roberts should consider who’s really served by his run for higher office,” Allison said.

Bush, a member of the “Squad” group of House Democrats, is trying to win a second term after defeating longtime Rep. William Lacy Clay in 2020. Clay has endorsed Roberts in the race.

Roberts’ ad cites Bush’s high-profile breaks with Biden: on his bipartisan infrastructure law — the female narrator says Bush voted against “fixing our roads and bridges” and “replacing lead pipes for cleaner drinking water” — and references her “no” vote on banning oil imports from Russia, saying she is “choosing a dictator over democracy.”

Bush and other members of the Squad had vowed not to support the bipartisan infrastructure law without a separate vote on the wider “Build Back Better” legislation, which died after the infrastructure law’s passage.

Bush defended her “no” vote on the Russian imports ban because the measures “are not accompanied with a clear diplomatic process for de-escalation,” she said in March.

She said she was concerned the ban “is being used to justify even more dangerous drilling at home” and more imports from “other authoritarian governments like Saudi Arabia.”

“Our approach to the crisis in Ukraine must be rooted in ending human suffering, ensuring accountability, and creating pathways to peace and justice for all,” Bush said.

“She even voted against the Congressional Black Caucus and prevented steps to protect HBCUs like Harris-Stowe (State University),” the ad says.

Ryan Hawkins, spokesman for Roberts’ campaign, cited Bush’s absence on April 6 during a committee vote on the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act and her subsequent resistance to it, as reported by Punchbowl News.

The Congressional Black Caucus backed the bill to help protect historically Black colleges and universities from attacks.

But members of the so-called “Squad” balked, raising concerns about the scope of the legislation.

Bush’s effort on the bill “left several Democrats fuming,” the outlet reported.

Bush has said she views her job through the lens of an activist. She was a prominent protester in Ferguson following the police shooting of Michael Brown Jr. there in 2014.

“I see things differently than the folks that were not out there (in the Black Lives Matter movement),” Bush told Punchbowl. “So I think that that makes a difference.”

Hawkins, asked how much the campaign is spending on the ad, said it was a “five-figure buy” on streaming TV “for several hundred thousand ‘non-skippable’ ads targeted to voters.”

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