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Smith Attacks Love on Taxes in Latest Ad

In her latest television ad in the Republican runoff in Alabama’s southwest 2nd district, state Sen. Harri Anne Smith attacks state Rep. Jay Love for giving tax breaks to big oil companies.

And to demonstrate her point, Smith uses clips from a video in which Gov. Bob Riley (R) rails against the state House Appropriations committee for voting down his proposal on state severance taxes. Love serves on the Appropriations Committee in the state House and voted against the governor’s proposal this spring.

In the video, which came from a March video news release from the governor’s Web site, Riley calls the committee vote “unconscionable,” adding that the vote put “the interest of big oil over the people of Alabama.”

Smith’s ad, which went up on cable and broadcast stations across the district Tuesday, calls Love a “friend of big oil” who gives “higher taxes and gas prices” to voters and “tax breaks for big oil.”

Though the ad uses video of Riley, the governor’s office made it clear on Tuesday that Riley remains neutral in the July 15 runoff.

“Given Gov. Riley’s popularity statewide, it’s not surprising Sen. Smith would want to use a video of him in her ad; however, that video was not accessed through the governor’s office and no permission was given to use it,” said Todd Stacy, a spokesman for Riley. “Gov. Riley has not endorsed either candidate and he will support the Republican nominee in the fall.”

Although Riley is staying neutral, it appears that national Republicans do have a preference in the runoff contest. Several top GOP officials, including House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio) and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.) have already held a fundraiser for Love.

The winner of the runoff will face Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright (D) in what is expected to be a highly competitive fall election to replace retiring Rep. Terry Everett (R). On Tuesday, Love’s campaign called Smith’s latest attack “absolutely ridiculous.”

“Jay is a conservative who has worked to cut taxes in Alabama,” said Love spokesman Michael Lowry. And when it comes to tax proposals like the one Love voted against, “what [Smith] is talking about sounds an awful lot like what [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her liberal allies in Congress are proposing.”

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