Last week, Newton mayoral candidate Scott Lennon sparked charges of sexism when he published a full-page ad in the local newspaper asserting, among other things, that he was the only candidate in the race who had held a full-time job for the last 20 years.
His opponent, Ruthanne Fuller, had stepped away from work to raise her children.
Lennon’s full-page ad in the Newton Tab this week? A photo filled with more than 50 women and headlined “WE’RE WITH SCOTT!”
The ads comes in the final days of an acrimonious race in which the two candidates, who agree on many issues facing the city, find themselves trading broadsides as each tries to highlight the differences between them.
Fuller blasted Lennon’s ad last week for “suggesting a woman’s experience counts for less than a man’s.” Lennon countered that he was only talking about his qualifications.
And they were back at it Wednesday, with less than a week left before the Nov. 7 election, and Lennon repeated his claim that he is better prepared to lead.
“I want to use my experience in management, budgeting, and auditing to continue to make Newton work for all our residents,” Lennon, the City Council president and a councilor-at-large, said in his new ad in the Tab.
He told the Globe the ad was placed last week, and was not in response to Fuller’s criticism.
Fuller, also a councilor-at-large, published her own half-page ad in Wednesday’s Tab, telling voters she is running for mayor “not to be something, but to do something.” It had no photo except for her headshot.
“I’m running for Mayor to make the city we love an even better place to live for everyone — from young families and millennials to seniors and longtime residents,” Fuller wrote.
The pair have each secured backing of their City Council colleagues — Lennon has 10 councilors supporting him, while Fuller has seven. Fuller also received the Tab’s endorsement this week.
Fuller said in a statement to the Globe on Wednesday that Lennon is undervaluing her qualifications.
“Another day, another ad from the other candidate claiming he is the ‘only candidate with a proven record of day-to-day financial and management experience to run our city,’ ” Fuller said.
Lennon, in a phone interview, said he is running a positive campaign and was not criticizing Fuller in either campaign ad — though he acknowledged that his statement last week about full-time work was “a poor choice of words.”
“This was not done in terms of looking at other people,” Lennon said. “Ruthanne is a friend of mine. I am trying to show voters my experience.”
Earlier in the day, Lennon’s spokeswoman responded to a request for comment by sending an Oct. 10 press release announcing his intention to form a Women’s Advancement Council. The original statement included a copy of the same photo of Lennon with women supporters that appeared Wednesday in his ad.
John Hilliard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.