OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma judicial candidate is fending off a political attack from his daughter, who has taken out a local newspaper ad urging voters: “Do not vote for my dad!”
McClain County judicial hopeful John Mantooth’s daughter and son-in-law paid for the quarter-page advertisement, which features a picture of the daughter’s family, highlights cases in which Mantooth has been sued and lists a website the couple started, www.donotvoteformydad.com.
Mantooth said the bad blood stems from his 1981 divorce from his daughter’s mother.
“This is a family issue which should have been kept private,” he said Monday. “I’m very sad about this. I’m very disappointed. I’m hurt, but I love my daughter, and I want things to get better, and I hope they will.”
Jan Schill, 31, said she never has had a good relationship with her father and doesn’t think he’d make a good judge.
“We just felt like it would be bad if he were to become a judge,” Schill said in a telephone interview from her home in Durango, Colo. “I assumed that he would not appreciate it, but he’s made so many people mad, I’m just another mark on his board of people’s he’s had a beef with.”
Keith Gaddie, a professor of political science at the University of Oklahoma, said such campaigning illustrates that “none of us wants our lives too closely examined.”
“It’s reality show politics,” Gaddie said. “It’s unsavory. It’s undignified, and it’s real.”
But Mantooth also suspects political maneuvering. He said his son-in-law, Andrew Schill, was once law partners with one of his opponents in Tuesday’s primary, Greg Dixon.
“That’s a very strange set of circumstances,” Mantooth said. “For a person to believe that Greg Dixon had nothing to do with this is like trying to believe that cows give chocolate milk.”
Andrew Schill said he and Dixon were law partners for about three years, but that the partnership was dissolved after Schill and his family moved to Colorado in 2007. He said he and his wife are responsible for the ad and that there was no coordination with Dixon.
“We put that stuff out there,” Andrew Schill said. “We want people to look at this record and his cases. I think people can look at that and draw their own conclusions.”
Dixon also said he had nothing to do with the ad or website.
“Unequivocally, absolutely not,” he said. “I don’t want to be affiliated with that website or that ad. I don’t want to use it as a platform in my political campaign.”
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