Apparently, Kansas isn’t the only Sunflower State.
The national website Buzzfeed has revealed that the Pat Roberts for Senate campaign has been using stock photos of sunflowers from the Ukraine, not Kansas, for its public-relations materials.
The photos, traced back to Ukrainian photographer Mykola Velychko, appear at the top of Roberts’ campaign Web page, his Facebook page and campaign news releases.
The photos are striking. One shows a field of sunflowers against a sunset, the other a field of the flowers next to a field of wheat at sundown.
Never miss a local story.
Polling shows that Greg Orman, the independent candidate challenging Roberts, is in a virtual dead heat with Roberts in the Senate race.
Roberts’ campaign manager, Corry Bliss, sought to downplay the “oops” factor involved in using flowers from Ukraine to represent Kansas’ iconic crop.
“Is this a joke?” Bliss told Buzzfeed. “It’s obviously a stock image used by our digital firm to reflect that Kansas is the Sunflower State. But given the many serious issues facing our country right now, I doubt voters care about this silly line of attack by Greg Orman and his liberal allies.”
Cue Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire, which pointed out that Bliss didn’t always think that Senate candidates using foreign stock photos was a joke.
Managing Republican Senate hopeful Linda McMahon in Connecticut two years ago, Bliss made political hay of a similar mistake by opponent Chris Murphy, who used pictures of a Norwegian submarine in a campaign ad instead of one from a shipyard in Groton.
In the 2012 flap, Bliss told Hearst media: “Our campaign received several phone calls from both workers at Electric Boat and veterans who served on submarines, both of which were amazed that Congressman Murphy would feature a Norwegian sub in a television ad claiming it was from Groton.”
Orman campaign manager Jim Jonas wrote this response to questions from The Eagle: “This is emblematic of a senator who’s been away from Kansas so long that he either doesn’t know or doesn’t care about the differences between a Kansas sunflower field and a Ukrainian sunflower field. It has a whole lot less to do with a three-term Senator mislabeling a sunflower field on his website and everything to do with reinforcing for Kansans that Pat Roberts left Kansas more than 47 years ago.”
Reach Dion Lefler at 316-268-6527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.