The Buzz

Paul Davis, candidate for governor, pulls ad that featured actor charged for soliciting sex

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Paul Davis withdrew his first campaign ad Wednesday after Republicans revealed it portrayed an actor charged with soliciting sex at a Topeka park.

Shortly after noon Thursday, the Davis campaign trumpeted the ad, saying it would correct misleading and inaccurate opposition ads funded by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and outside groups.

But within hours, the ad posted on the Davis campaign website was taken down after questions were raised about an actor who was arrested in 2007 for soliciting sodomy.

Davis issued a short, one-paragraph statement. He said the ad was removed after learning that an actor “has serious issues in his background.”

Davis apologized for the mistake. The campaign would not answer any further questions about the commercial.

The Kansas Republican Party circulated the arrest records plus documents from a separate investigation conducted by the Boy Scouts of America that led to his registration with the group being suspended.

The records showed that the actor signed a diversion agreement in the solicitation case and paid a $150 fee plus courts costs.

But the Boy Scouts ordered the man to sever his ties with the group in 1989 after learning he was suspended from teaching at a Topeka high school for allegedly making sexual advances toward a male foreign exchange student.

The Boy Scout records are stored in database kept by the Los Angeles Times containing information on about 5,000 men and women who were expelled by the group on suspicions of sexual abuse.

In 1989, according to the Boy Scout records, the high school would not address the allegations against the man other than to say he was on medical leave and his contract would not be renewed.

Clay Barker, executive director of the Kansas GOP, said “the use of an actor with this sort of background raises serious questions about Paul Davis’ judgment and what kind of people he would surround himself with if elected.”

Later, in an interview, Barker credited the Davis campaign for pulling the ad after blasting it out on social media.

To reach Brad Cooper, call 816-234-7724 or send email to bcooper@kcstar.com.

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