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OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma (Reuters Life!) - Jan Schill has a message for voters in Oklahoma choosing a district judge in elections on Tuesday -- do not vote for my dad.
She and her husband have taken out newspaper ads urging voters not to vote for John Mantooth, who they believe had a lousy record as a judge and does not deserve the job.
Mantooth has told reporters his daughter, 31, launched her campaign because of lingering resentment over her parents' 1981 divorce. He also said one of his rivals for the post who formerly worked with his son-in-law may have played a role.
But Schill and her husband Andrew, a lawyer, said those are not the reasons at all.
"It's not the (strained) relationship that prompted this. She worked in the district attorney's office in that district. I worked in the legal community and we just felt like we had to say something. It's his record. This father-daughter thing is interesting, but that's not the story," Andrew Schill said.
The Durango, Colorado, couple's ads cost them $900 and ran last Thursday and Friday in the Purcell (Oklahoma) Register and the Norman Transcript.
They tried to get the newspapers to run a story about Mantooth, but were turned down, so they ran the quarter-page ads and launched a website: www.donotvoteformydad.com.
"I've never seen anything like this in American politics," commented University Of Oklahoma political science professor Keith Gaddie. "This is a new one."
Mantooth, in a three-way race for a post that will judge cases in three Oklahoma counties, did not help matters by running campaign ads showing himself as a family man and a father of three daughters with grandchildren, Andrew Schill said.
"He has a relationship with none of them," Schill said.
Additional reporting and writing by Andrew Stern; Editing by Greg McCune and Jerry Norton