Right-wing group buys ads attacking Staubach Gates on Lee statue removal

A national right-wing group is running radio ads attacking one Dallas City Council member for her vote to remove the Robert E. Lee statue.

The ad targets North Dallas councilwoman Jennifer Staubach Gates and is paid for by a group called Conservative Response Team. It’s currently airing on select AM radio stations in North Texas.

"While Mayor Mike Rawlings is getting most of the blame, the name you all should remember is Jennifer Staubach Gates,” the ad says. “Jennifer Staubach Gates and her alt-left rhetoric is right out of Black Lives Matter and Antifa."

Rick Shaftan, who runs the right-wing group, said the ad specifically targets Gates for her criticism of confederate monuments.

Gates said she's been receiving vile and threatening messages, but she says many of them are not from her constituents. She doesn’t know why the group went after her, even though nearly the entire council voted to remove the statue last month.

"After I did my homework, I felt like Robert E. Lee needed to come down in Dallas, it was the right thing to do. I did that, but I was one of 13 votes. The attacks on me, I'm not sure why they decided to attack me personally,” Gates said. "Guess it is the reality of politics."

Meanwhile, a newly formed group called Citizens Matter is listing the statue removal as a reason to vote against the $1 billion bond going before Dallas voters in November.  But a political consultant said he doesn't think that effort will be successful, since even voters angry at the statue removal process still want have police protection and paved streets.

Consultant Brian Mayes did not agree with the removal of the Lee statue and a poll he conducted for Dallas business leaders found the majority of residents share his opinion. But he also doesn't think that will cause voters to reject the bond.

"There is some frustration with how the statue issue was handled. There was no transparency by the city, but we're now talking about a bond referendum on a completely different issue,” Mayes said. “It's helping our police do a better job, protecting our police officers, paving our streets, that's an issue voters will support at the voting booth.”

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