PROVIDENCE — The war of words between Governor Dan McKee and his November election rival Ashley Kalus has now taken to the air, in more ways than one.
Kalus, in a new attack ad airing Tuesday, advised McKee to “lawyer up.” The ad had to be corrected, however, because the voiceover mispronounced “Pawtucket” as “PAW-tucket.”
McKee, in response to Kalus, used a different aerial metaphor to describe her: “kind of a seagull manager.”
“You know what seagull management is?” McKee told reporters. “When you fly over and you crap over everybody you fly over. She’s crapping all over the state of Rhode Island. And this is another example. You can’t expect to lead a state you don’t know anything about.”
The back-and-forth highlighted some of the attack lines that McKee and Kalus have been using against each other since they emerged from their primaries: Kalus, a Republican, describing McKee as corrupt, and McKee, a Democrat, describing Kalus as an outsider who only recently moved to Rhode Island and doesn’t know anything about it.
Kalus’ ad on Tuesday highlighted several recent McKee administration episodes, calling him “corrupt from the start.” The ad highlighted state subsidies for the Superman Building, $60 million in public financing for the Tidewater Landing soccer stadium project in Pawtucket, and the ILO education contract.
“Dan, time to lawyer up,” the voiceover announcer said. “So many corrupt insider deals — it’s time for a change.”
The ad was later changed slightly to fix the pronunciation of Pawtucket, a Rhode Island shibboleth.
McKee, prompted by reporters’ questions, criticized that mispronunciation while he also defended the Tidewater deal, saying he won’t turn his back on Pawtucket.
“Not surprisingly, she doesn’t even know how to pronounce the name,” McKee said at an event kicking off the state’s campaign to vote yes on 3, a bond referendum that’s also on the ballot in November.
Kalus’ campaign spokesman Matt Hanrahan, in an emailed response to the Globe on McKee’s remarks, accused McKee of exhibiting a “continuing course of misogynistic behavior.” Hanrahan pointed to McKee’s working relationship — or lack thereof — with former Governor Gina Raimondo, and his reaction to former Health Department director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott’s endorsement of a primary rival, Helena Foulkes. (Foulkes has since endorsed McKee, even after a botched concession phone call that Hanrahan also pointed to.)
“Dan McKee obviously has a problem with strong women,” Hanrahan said. “If he had a record to champion — he would — but instead he resorts to name calling. Is that the Governor you want?”
This story has been updated with a response from the Kalus campaign.