Flyer in Virginia House race shows Jewish candidate with gold coins – J.
A GOP flyer distributed to homes in suburban Washington, Virginia depicts the Jewish Democratic candidate for the House of Delegates at a table filled with gold coins, an association of images of Jewish candidates with money that has proliferated in advertisements of political attacks in recent years.
“Dan Helmer has taken Virginia’s cost of living to new heights,” the courier said. It was distributed this week by Helmer’s Republican challenger Howard Pyon.
Helmer, the 40th district incumbent of the House of Delegate, which covers parts of Fairfax and Prince William counties, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the photoshopped scene was clearly anti-Semitic and that he had heard from Jewish families in the indignant district.
“People are deeply upset by this,” said Helmer, an outgoing freshman running for re-election. “They expect us to talk about the issues, not to use anti-Semitic tropes. “
A spokesperson for Pyon said the description in the recent post was not anti-Semitic and could apply to any politician accused of voting to raise taxes.
“This shows the increases because of his votes,” Pyon’s spokesperson said of the four stacks of coins topped with a car for car taxes, a lamp for utilities, a gas pump and a house. Helmer’s being Jewish “was not on Harold’s mind” when the candidate approved the ad, the spokesperson said.
Similar representations of Jewish candidates reveling in cash during recent election cycles has drawn condemnation from Jewish groups. Most of the attacks targeted Jewish Democrats, although in one case a Republican Jewish candidate targeted by Democrats.
One of Helmer’s fundraising emails from the 2019 election condemned the recent spike in anti-Semitic attacks and accused his opponent, a longtime incumbent, of ignoring him. It showed Helmer celebrating his son’s bar mitzvah. Helmer’s grandmother spoke during her swearing-in in 2020 of her joy, as a Holocaust survivor, to witness her grandson’s election to public office.
Helmer also said that the way the original photograph was grainy in the photoshopped mailer seemed to accentuate his nose. Helmer, a veteran, also noted that the photoshopped version had erased the West Point badge on his jacket. Pyon’s spokesperson denied that there was an effort to make Helmer’s nose more prominent, noting that making photographs of opponents more grainy was commonplace in political advertisements.
Helmer won the 2019 election up close, ousting a longtime Republican. State Republicans invested in Pyon’s candidacy, hoping to wrest the House of Delegates from Democratic control.