An Erie County man who describes regret over voting for President Donald Trump in 2016 didn’t vote for him, according to news organizations that checked his voting record.
Mark Graham is featured in videos created by America Bridge, a Democrat-supporting political action committee, or PAC.
The ads are part of a $5 million advertising campaign being waged by American Bridge in the key swing states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Graham says in an ad, “I voted for Donald Trump in 2016 because I thought he would make a change.”
Asked whether change has occurred, Graham replies “Not for the good.” Graham later states Trump “plays favorites for people like himself … He doesn’t understand life around here.”
The ad began running in the Erie area in November. Earlier this month, Erie-area news organization JET 24 checked county voting records and discovered Graham didn’t vote in 2016.
In a subsequent interview, Graham told Erie News Now he’s a registered Republican who participated in a focus group involving Republicans who supported Democrat Ron DiNicola in his unsuccessful 2018 run for U.S. Congress.
Graham told the focus group re-electing Trump would be like “throwing gasoline on a fire.”
That led to The New York Times featuring Graham in two stories about dissatisfied Trump voters and swing voters, and apparently to him being contacted by American Bridge.
The New York Times has attached corrections to both stories stating it confirmed Graham did not vote in the election. Graham has said his statements in the ad reflect his true feelings about Trump.
The Republican Party of Pennsylvania has called for American Bridge to take down the ad and apologize.
“The ad is false, its premise is false and it’s messenger has been discredited,” state GOP Chairman Lawrence Tabas said in a news release. “The organization could easily have determined that Graham had not voted in 2016 by checking the publicly available records at the Erie County elections office.”
As of Thursday morning the ad remained on the American Bridge website, apparently in original form.
American Bridge didn’t immediately respond to a telephone message left Thursday morning seeking comment.
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