Del. Jackson H. Miller, R-Manassas, the state House majority whip, sent voters a mailer comparing Democratic opponent Lee Carter to communist dictators Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong.
The mailer attacks Carter for identifying as a Democratic Socialist and includes the word “Socialism” over a red background with a picture of Carter alongside images of the communists. The mailer also includes Vladimir Lenin, Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx.
Marx and Engels were German philosophers who published “The Communist Manifesto.”
Carter said the mailer was evidence of his chances of beating Miller on Tuesday. Earlier this year, Miller, a real estate agent and former police officer, lost a special election in Prince William County for clerk of court.
“Desperate men will say anything, and it just shows that he’s desperate,” Carter said. “I am a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. I volunteered in the middle of two wars. And I’m trying to make sure that every Virginian has health care similar to what I had when I was on active duty.”
Carter supports single-payer health care, something many Democrats don’t endorse and Republicans call radical. The plan means government would fund basic health care for all.
Fifteen Democratic candidates for the House of Delegates support single-payer health care, and held a press conference in Richmond last month to discuss it.
“For Jackson Miller, a member of the Republican House leadership, to juxtapose his opponent’s face with dictators who killed millions of people is unconscionable,” said Katie Baker, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Party of Virginia, in an emailed statement. “We are without words.”
Miller’s campaign did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
Parker Slaybaugh, a spokesman for House Majority Leader M. Kirkland Cox, R-Colonial Heights, said Cox — who will be House speaker if his party maintains its 66-34 edge — had no comment.
“We are just going to refer all questions to Jackson,” he said.