Truth Test: First District Congressman John Sullivan's ads

Tuesday, October 19th 2004, 11:08 am
By: News On 6

While the US Senate candidates have been battling it out on the airwaves for a while, Oklahoma's 1st congressional district candidates have been quiet up until now.

Republican John Sullivan and Democrat Doug Dodd are now in a war of words with a new ad coming out just about every day.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan puts one of Sullivan’s ads to the Truth Test.

First District Congressman John Sullivan's latest ad - focuses entirely on his opponent and questions what happened when Democrat Doug Dodd served on the Tulsa School Board. Announcer: “Doug Dodd keeps on running for congress. And keeps on losing. Because in his years on the Tulsa School Board, he kept on spending. And our kid’s education kept on declining.”

The ad says under Dodd, school spending increased 90%. The truth is it went up at least 90% - but Dodd says it was actually much more, 123% by his figures. Doug Dodd: "Spending did go up, thank goodness, in fact spending went up because the legislature and voters approved it that was HB 1017, which allowed us to better fund our schools.”

The ad makes the claim that with Dodd on the school board - test scores fell below average. The truth is that ACT scores were below average before Dodd was on the board; they remained below average and still are. SAT scores went up and were above average while he was on the board. Dodd: "I don't where he's getting the ACT going down idea, all test scores vary and go up and down from year to year, but if you look from the front to the back of my tenure on the school board, ACT's went up."

It's true that the ACT scores were rising - even as they were below average, but both sides may be overstating what happened. Tulsa Public Schools says "School board members don't usually get credit or blame for test scores."

The ad is true but doesn't tell the whole story - so voters will have to decide what it means for the candidates.

Late Tuesday, the Sullivan campaign put out another ad that criticizes Dodd for running and losing in the past - it also makes claims about Sullivan's arrest record.