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NRCC Claims DCCC Ad Pulled From Buffalo TV

The National Republican Congressional Committee was claiming Wednesday night that WKBW-TV in Buffalo had pulled a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ad in the tossup race to replace Rep. Jack Quinn (R) at the NRCC’s request.

NRCC lawyers had written to Buffalo TV stations after the DCCC ad began airing Tuesday demanding that the spot be taken off the air. The ad in part accuses the Republican nominee in the 27th district, Erie County Comptroller Nancy Naples, of “suggest[ing] a $125 million increase in sales and property taxes” — an apparent reference to a debate taking place in Erie County government earlier this year about raising revenues.

But Naples, according to the NRCC in a sharply worded letter to the TV stations, in fact opposed the county executive’s tax hike proposal.

Carl Forti, the NRCC’s communications director, said the committee heard late Wednesday that the ABC affiliate, WKBW, was taking the ad off the air.

“It was clearly a false and misleading attack that had to be taken off the airwaves,” he said.

But Bill Ransom, the station’s general manager, did not respond to telephone messages left at his office Wednesday evening.

Greg Speed, a spokesman for the DCCC, said his committee’s ad buyers had not heard anything from the station by Roll Call press time.

Naples is in a tough race with state Assemblyman Brian Higgins (D), and it is turning into one of the most closely watched House races of the cycle.

The district favors Democrats, by Quinn has held it since 1992 by appealing to working class voters.

— Josh Kurtz

Murray and Cleland Blast Nethercutt Ad

Sen. Patty Murray (D) predicted early that her race with Rep. George Nethercutt (R) would be the ugliest in the country and, in her opinion, that prediction has come true.

Nethercutt’s latest TV ad circulated mere hours before Murray pulled former Sen. Max Cleland (D-Ga.) into a conference call with reporters Wednesday to deride the 30-second Nethercutt spot that features the two-term Senator, Osama bin Laden and World Trade Center wreckage.

Nethercutt charges that Murray holds “a different view of Osama bin Laden” in the spot, titled “Different.”

He uses comments she made during an hour-long discussion with Vancouver, Wash., high school students in 2002 in which she said that the al Qaeda leader has proven himself effective at gaining the support of poor Muslims by “building roads, building schools, building infrastructure, building day care facilities, building health care facilities” in less-affluent nations.

She then added that, had the United States done the same, Americans might be viewed differently in countries such as Afghanistan.

Nethercutt then appears on the screen saying that Murray wants to “excuse” terrorists.

Murray said the Nethercutt ad takes her remarks out of context.

Cleland, who is still furious about GOP ads used against him in his surprise 2002 loss to then-Rep. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) that questioned his patriotism and pictured bin Laden, called the Nethercutt ad the latest extension of the GOP’s “slimeball politics.”

Nethercutt spokesman Alex Conant defended the ad Wednesday.

“The war on terrorism is the most important issue facing our state and the nation. George Nethercutt wants to attack the terrorists while Patty Murray has apologized for them,” he said. “Her quotes praising Osama bin Laden are not only in context, they are consistent with her 12-year record of cutting defense and intelligence.”

Murray said voters would penalize Nethercutt for the brazen ad.

“I believe the voters of Washington state are going to see this as just a political campaign on my opponent’s party and aren’t gonna buy it,” she predicted.
— Nicole Duran

LCV Chooses Ross Over Reichert for Dunn Seat

The League of Conservation Voters has endorsed Dave Ross (D) in his bid for the Evergreen State’s open 8th district seat.

The environmental group noted that the popular Seattle radio talk show host burnished his green credentials by buying a hybrid car last year before he took a hiatus from his show to run for Congress.

He faces popular King County Sheriff Dave Reichert (R) in the race to replace retiring Rep. Jennifer Dunn (R).
— N.D.

2 GOP Mayors Prefer Democrat Barbieri

Two Republican mayors have backed Democratic candidate Don Barbieri in the contest for the open 5th district seat.

The mayors of Newport and Liberty Lake, small towns in the sprawling Eastern Washington district, cited Barbieri’s business experience and long-time community involvement as reasons for supporting him instead of state Rep. Cathy McMorris (R).

Both parties are closely watching this competitive race. Rep. George Nethercutt (R) is retiring from the House to challenge Sen. Patty Murray (D).
— N.D.

Michels’ New Ad Puts Feingold in Detention

During his three campaigns for federal office Sen. Russ Feingold (D) has been known to run clever ads, including ones using The King himself. But now his opponent has employed the device, minus Elvis.

Construction company executive Tim Michels (R) unveiled his latest TV spot Tuesday titled “Classroom.”

In the humorous 30-second spot Michels seeks to portray Feingold’s work on the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act as an indulgent diversion carried out at the expense of other priorities.

The backdrop is a school and is meant to show Feingold missing from such secondary-education classes as affordable health care and fighting terrorism. The ad then pans to a shot of a woman portraying a teacher who looks out the window at the “campaign finance reform” playground and says, “That Russ Feingold, he’s been out there for 12 years.” She then knocks on the window and implores “Russell” in a scolding tone as an actor playing Feingold joyfully heads down a kiddie slide.

Michels’ ad is not likely to prompt the sort of editorial criticism that his last one did.

Saturday the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel took Michels to task for running an ad it called “demonstrably and flagrantly false.”

The ad accused Feingold of not working to allow citizens to import prescription drugs from Canada despite his status as an original co-sponsor of legislation that would do just that.

Michels was also put on the hot seat by two of the paper’s columnists Monday for advocating a tougher trade stance with China while holding substantial shares in a mutual fund that aims to boost investment in Chinese companies.

Michels’ spokesman Tim Roby told the paper that Michels would work to repeal China’s most favored nation trading status even though it would be detrimental to his family’s financial well-being.
— N.D.


‘Crapheads’ Appears on Anti-Coburn Billboard

State Democrats have unveiled a new billboard in Oklahoma City to advertise a controversial comment made by GOP Senate nominee and former Rep. Tom Coburn.

“You have a bunch of crapheads in Oklahoma City,” the billboard reads, crediting the words to Coburn.

The doctor and former Congressman has said he was referring to state lawmakers when he made the remark during a town hall meeting in Altus last month.

Democrats have called on Coburn to apologize and Coburn’s opponent, Rep. Brad Carson (D), has used the comment in a television ad.
— Lauren W. Whittington

Technical Error Forces Bond to Pull Radio Ads

Sen. Kit Bond (R) was forced to pull down radio ads after state Treasurer Nancy Farmer’s (D) campaign alleged that they were in violation of new campaign finance rules.

Bond removed radio ads from roughly 50 stations since the spots did not carry a disclaimer about who paid for the ad in accordance with new regulations laid out in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002.

The Bond campaign could be forced to sacrifice its right to the lowest unit rate when buying radio time for the duration of the campaign.

The technical error on Bond’s part is a relatively minor blip in what has been a solid re-election race to this point. Bond has used his massive financial edge to dominate the airwaves for more than a month. Farmer has been forced to play defense for much of that time.

While Bond has never won a race with more than 53 percent of the vote, polls show that Farmer trails the Republican incumbent by a double-digit margin.
— Chris Cillizza

Melancon Has First Ads in Open-Seat Contest

Former state Rep. Charlie Melancon (D) launched the first commercial of the 3rd district open-seat race Wednesday as he seeks to ensure a spot in the likely December runoff.

“I’ve lived my whole life here,” Melancon says in the ad. “I got a good public education, a good job, I’ve raised my family here in this community.”

The 30-second ad, which was produced by Fletcher Rowley Chao Inc., goes on to detail Melancon’s plan for “education and job creation.”

Melancon is one of five candidates seeking to replace retiring Rep. Billy Tauzin (R) in the southeastern Louisiana seat. Charmaine Caccioppi, a former aide to Louisiana Sen. J. Bennett Johnston (D), and state Rep. Damon Baldone are in the race on the Democratic side; BellSouth lobbyist Billy Tauzin III (R), the youngest son of the current Congressman with the same name, and state Sen. Craig Romero (R) are also running.

All five candidates will face off in a Nov. 2 open primary; if no one receives 50 percent, the two-top votegetters, irrespective of party, advance to a Dec. 4 runoff. The seat is competitive between the parties as President Bush carried it with just 52 percent in 2000.
— C.C.

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