As election day nears, attorney general's race gets ugly

SEATTLE -- In the final weeks of the campaign, the tone of many political ads tend to become very aggressive, and one political analyst says ads in the race for attorney general are the worst he's seen in his career.

Some of the ads are brutal, and without proper context it seems like both men looking to become the state's top lawyer have no regard for justice. But a deeper look shows the truth behind the nasty campaign.

"You start with two people who don't like each other," said political analyst Ron Dotzauer.

Dotzauer has spent the last 40 years in politics, and he said he's never seen a campaign like one between Reagan Dunn and Bob Ferguson.

"Harsh. Really harsh," he said.

One anti-Dunn ad by the Washington Committee for Justice and Fairness clams when Dunn was a prosecutor he went light on crooks by making deal after deal.

"Dunn even cut a deal with a convicted domestic abuser," the ad says.

Former US Attorney John McKay is a Dunn supporter. He said prosecutors make deals all the time and called the anti-Dunn ad unfair and untrue.

"In fact, Reagan Dunn didn't even reach the plea agreement in that deal," McKay said. "It was done by other prosecutors. I know this because it was my office."

Ads attacking Ferguson haven't been entirely fair or accurate, either.

An ad by the Republican State Leadership Committee references Ferguson's legal aid to a death row inmate asking for appeal. The ad makes it seem as if Ferguson was the lead attorney in the case, when in fact he was just a summer intern in college.

"Both of them, in many respects, were probably doing the right things at the times for their jobs," Dotzauer said.

The political action committee behind the anti-Ferguson ad stood by the claims, saying that even as a college student Ferguson could have made a choice not to help the criminal.

So far, neither campaign has called for the ads to be pulled.