A Republican candidate for the Senate is accusing his rival, a doctor, of a decades-long pattern of bullying his female employees, colleagues, and even his supervisors. A new ad blasts Democrat Richard Carmona, the former US surgeon general, for terrorizing his former boss Cristina Beato by banging on her door at home and yelling at her in the middle of the night.
The ad is titled “The Carmona Files – Volume 1: Women in the Workplace.” It lays out several accusations that Carmona is a monster at work, including 2007 testimony from Beato accusing Carmona of harassing her at home after a dispute at work: “He trekked down the hill in the middle of the night, okay, knocking on my door. He was pounding on my door. If you don’t think that scares you when you have two kids at home, let me tell you.” In the background is the kind of minor-key music that Dateline plays to suggest very bad, sneaky things are going on.
The ad goes on to recount a previous accusation of “antagonism” and “threats” after a female health commissioner reported a doctor’s drug abuse problem even though Carmona wanted to deal with it internally. The commissioner said he screamed at her in response.
Another ad features Beato herself, now acting assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, recounting the story of Carmona arriving at her house in the middle of the night. “There was an angry pounding on the door in the middle of the night,” she tells the camera. “I’m a single mom. I feared for my kids and for myself. It was Richard Carmona, and I was his boss.” She continues: “Carmona is not who he seems. He has issues with anger, with ethics, and with women.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that no Democrat has won a Senate race in such a strongly “red” state since 1988. Republican candidate Jeff Flake, currently a congressman, has therefore been strongly favored to win. But Carmona has turned this into a close race, pulling within just a few points in recent polls. “All of a sudden, this is a real race,” a political consultant tells the paper.
Although no one likes to see an election get this negative, in a weird way, it’s also encouraging. These new ads mean that campaign experts view a candidate’s treatment of his female colleagues as an issue that’s important enough to voters to swing an election.