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Challenger not dropping lawsuit against opponent in 50th district house race

Michela Skelton is moving forward with a lawsuit filed in Boone County court against her opponent, Rep. Sara Walsh.

Walsh is one of the three parties the lawsuit names, in addition to the House Republican Campaign Committee and Zimmer Radio Group. Walsh is an Ashland Republican who won the seat over Skelton in an August 2017 special election. Skelton hopes to unseat Walsh in the rematch Nov. 6.

The suit was originally filed in response to an ad from the HRCC, which said Skelton is an advocate for “violent protest against police.”

Now, a new ad is running in its place.

“This new ad is identical to the old, defamatory one — it’s literally word for word — expect for one telling line,” Skelton said Monday. “This ‘new’ ad was edited to remove the defamatory and dangerous reference to advocating for violent protests against police. The script is different by just a couple of words, but that revision speaks volumes.”

In a press conference Monday, Skelton said the “idea behind the ad is still defamatory.”

“There’s nothing radical about standing up for constitutional rights, for exercising your constitutionally protected rights to peaceful protest. By focusing on the fact that police officers put their lives on the line every day, that I am a radical and my support of protesters against police, it’s still giving that same impression that I am anti police which I am not. I’ve supported protesters who are anti police violence,” Skelton said.

Walsh responded in a statement Monday.

“As I have stated previously, the lawsuit is without merit, as this was not my ad but the ad of a third party. Under the advice of legal counsel, I will not speak to its specifics.

As always, I continue to remain focused on serving the good people of Missouri’s 50th District, despite distractions, and am out in my district talking with my constituents about my accomplishments, including: restoring $63,000 in funding to Missouri Task Force 1, helping reform Missouri’s adoption and foster care system, and fully funding K-12 education at record levels. I am receiving extremely positive feedback from my constituents on the job I have done thus far, as their full-time State Representative, and humbly ask for their vote November 6.”

You can read the full lawsuit here.

Here is Skelton’s statement in full:

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