HAMPTON ROADS (WAVY) — 10 On Your Side is your local election headquarters.
We are again tracking the truth in political ads in the newly formed 24th state Senate District.
One week left until we head to the polls, if not before, with early voting.
We are doing that because of some serious accusations in recent ads.
We are revisiting it because the seat for state Senate District 24 could be the most closely watched Senate race in this election cycle.
This race has also involved the pulling of an ad and replacing it with another because something wasn’t true.
The Monty Mason commercial goes:
“When the group in 2002 came to York County, Mr. Diggs met with them,” Mason told 10 On Your Side.
WAVY’S TRUTH TRACKER finds that claim FALSE.
We asked Diggs: “Did you ever meet with the hate group, personally as the Mason ad suggests?”
“No I did not,” Diggs said.
WAVY TRUTH TRACKER finds that TRUE.
“That commercial is blatantly false,” said current York-Poquoson Sheriff Ron Montgomery.
Montgomery insisted he is the one who met with the representatives, not Diggs.
WAVY-TV was there on May 4, 2002, at the Tabb Library. May 4, 2002. Tabb library
It was Diggs then Chief Deputy Ron Montgomery who met with the members of the World Church of the Creator led by well-known national racist Matt Hale,
“I met with them to set out the parameters to allow them to have their meeting. They already had the permit to have the meeting here, we had absolutely nothing to do with that…but they had a constitutional right to have ethe meeting.”
We went to Mason and told him; Ron Montgomery is saying that he is the one who met with them.
Mason, said, “Ok well then they should take the matter up with the local paper, The Daily Press that reported that.”
Montgomery brought up another issue. Suggesting that Mason knew Montgomery knew the truth, and Mason kept running the ad anyway until it was finally pulled and replaced with another ad that took out the issue that is in question.
Montgomery told us ,
“I told Sen. Mason about the false claim, but Mason who cited a newspaper article continued to run the ad anyway….Mr. Mason said he could either edit or potentially remove the commercial…he knew after he had a long talk with me last Friday morning was false, and misleading, and that’s what’s disappointing to me the most.”
WAVY TRUTH TRACKER also finds it TRUE that the ad could leave a false impression.
“The way everyone interprets this, I met with them, I was their friend, and I was going to facilitate the racist holy war, and nothing is further from the truth,” Diggs said.
After WAVY TRUTH TRACKER’s interview with Mason about the ad, he pulled the ad, editing out the false part, but leaving the rest, which states:
Mason is not backing down from the commercial. He’s embracing it and the other two issues he hits Diggs on.
WAVY TRUTH TRACKER finds that TRUE.
10 On Your Side was there in Richmond when Diggs, a strong Second Amendment advocate, was one of 13 featured speakers speaking out against proposed gun restrictions proposed by Democrats who had just taken control of both the House of Delegates and the Senate.
About 20,000 people were estimated to be at the march.
“This was not just a Second Amendment rally,” Mason said. “There was intelligence, and we were all briefed by State Police and the Capitol police.”
WAVY TRUTH TRACKER finds that to be TRUE. It was feared hate groups would cause trouble.
“I had no knowledge whatsoever that the Proud Boys or whoever else he wants to include — they were never an official part of this rally,” Diggs said.
Mason counters: “They had a guillotine outside the Capitol. It was not a Second Amendment rally. It was a march on Richmond.”
We asked Diggs if he know they were going to show up, and would it matter.
“It would not matter,” Diggs said. “It would not matter. Could we stop them from showing up? I have the right to go and speak somewhere.”
The last part of the ad:
It is true Diggs went to a Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) Conference, and he doesn’t deny it.
“Yes, that’s true and that is stuff I self-reported,” Diggs said.
FAIR has been targeted by anti-hate groups as being white supremacists. FAIR also favors severely limiting immigration into the United States.
Mason adds, “He was paid to participate, to speak to this group.”
Diggs claims that is false and that he was not a speaker.
“They paid me for my travel, and my hotel room,” Diggs said. “… I got invited to a FAIR immigration seminar to learn about how illegal immigration is affecting our border in all of our states, and how the drug trafficking is coming across.”
“I don’t understand why a constitutional officer from York County is speaking to an anti-immigration group,” Mason said.
We asked Diggs: “Did he know FAIR had nefarious ties to hate groups?
“No,” he answered.
In the newly formed 24th Senate District, Mason says the race is 50-50, but all recent elections in this district have been won by Democratic candidates — except for one. Gov. Glenn Youngkin won it with about 51% of the vote.