Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan has an interesting way of showing "respect" for women.
For the past two weeks, Anchorage Assembly member and stalwart women's advocate Elvi Gray-Jackson has been getting concerned phone calls from constituents about the use of a photograph captured at a "Choose Respect" rally -- intended to highlight the issues of domestic violence and sexual assault that plague the state in record numbers. The event had nothing to do with the upcoming election.
So what is Elvi Gray-Jackson doing with a Republican behind a giant banner advertising his senate candidacy?
That is exactly what Assemblywoman Jackson and many others have been wondering.
Dan Sullivan likely thought it made him look all woman-friendly, surrounded by the likes of Gray-Jackson, State Sen. Lesil McGuire, and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski. A man is known by the company he keeps, right?
Well, so is a woman, and Gray-Jackson, who holds a non-partisan seat on the Assembly, wasn't thrilled with the Photoshop shenanigans and implied endorsement of Sullivan's campaign. She delivered a letter on Monday asking Sullivan to stop using her image in his campaign flyers and TV ads.
"The use of my image implies an endorsement of your candidacy," Gray-Jackson wrote, "It's my face. I support women's rights, and I don't want anyone to think otherwise."
Gray-Jackson went on to say that she does not support Sullivan's senate bid, specifically citing women's issues and her pro-choice stance and emphasizing that these "strongly disagree" with Sullivan's policies.
Ironically, Mr. Sullivan does not in fact "choose respect" and instead refuses to honor Ms. Gray-Jackson's request to stop misappropriating her image. He will continue to use the misleading photo for his own political purposes and against her will. Perhaps, someone needs to explain to Mr. Sullivan that "no means no."
The winner of the GOP Senate primary will take on incumbent Senator Mark Begich, a pro-choice Democrat.