Flier With Woman in Fake Uniform Fuels Controversy

Tuesday, 05 Aug 2014 11:39 AM

By Andrea Billups

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She serves on the House Committee on Veterans Affairs and represents a district that includes a base for 19,000 naval personnel. Yet, U.S. Rep. Julia Brownley sent a campaign mailer to her constituents that included a photo of a woman in a fake Navy uniform with a German air force insignia on her cap.

The campaign gaffe by the Democrat, who is running for re-election in California's 26th District, has drawn the attention of local veterans and her opponent who have called out her advertising efforts as thoughtless, The Daily Caller reported.

"This gaffe is disrespectful to those who have worn the uniform of the United States," said Republican candidate Jeff Gorell, a state Assemblyman who told the Daily Caller he suspected his opponent had purchased the image as stock photo that was created to look like a woman in a U.S. Navy uniform.

He described it as "indicative of a fundamental lack of understanding of veterans and the military by Brownley, her staff, and her political advisers." He also called on her to apologize "for using taxpayer funds to send out such wasteful, useless mailers."

The photo of the woman is one of eight photographs on the campaign mailer. The tip-off was the gold insignia on her hat, which is the military symbol for the Bundeswehr Luftwaffe, or German air force.

The mailer was sent out using Congressional franking privileges, which allow lawmakers to send mail to constituents without having to pay postage.

Brownley and Gorell, a naval reserve officer and former deputy district attorney, emerged as winners in a hard-fought June primary, with the freshman congresswoman earning 46.1 percent of the vote to Gorell's 44.1 percent, the Ventura County Star reported.

They are set to face off in a general election Nov. 4 for a chance to represent most of California's Ventura County.

Brownley, in 2012, became the first Democrat to win election in her district in 75 years, but by a narrow margin. Her district includes Naval Base Ventura County. Real Clear Politics calls the race a "likely" Democratic victory, according to the Los Angeles Daily News, which has called the race "attractive" and one that will likely draw attention in the general election.

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