The contest for one of the nation’s most competitive U.S. House races is entering the final week and the candidates are exchanging barbs about Obama, lies and Medicare.
Congressman Steve Southerland’s and Democratic challenger Gwen Graham have questioned each other’s honesty face to face and campaign commercials released Tuesday continue the attacks by their surrogates.
The National Republic Congressional Committee’s new commercial supporting the Panama City Republican tells voters to pay no attention to what Graham says, “The only thing that matters about Gwen Graham is that she supports Barack Obama’s disastrous agenda,” states a voiceover announcer.
“Sending Gwen Graham to Washington means more of Obama’s failed policies for North Florida families. Obamacare is already hurting seniors yet Gwen supports the law,” said Katie Prill, NRCC spokeswoman. “North Florida can’t afford Gwen Graham in Congress.”
Graham supporters were apparently prepared for the attack. By the afternoon it had a new spot up about a dishonest campaign.
“Steve Southerland is not telling the truth about Gwen Graham,” says a voiceover announcer. “Gwen Graham opposes any cuts to Medicare, period. It is Steve Southerland who voted to end Medicare guaranteed benefits.”
“Steve Southerland is more interested in distorting Gwen Graham’s record than answering for his terrible record for seniors,” said Matt Thornton, Communications Director for House Majority PAC. “Southerland voted to end Medicare’s guaranteed benefits, something he hopes Floridians forget.”
The race is considered a toss-up and much of the battle is occurring during commercial breaks on the radio and television stations of the 14-county 2nd Congressional District. Southerland won re-election two years ago with 53 percent of the vote.
The Graham campaign appears confident it can erase the Republican’s 18,000 vote victory margin with a get-out-the-vote effort in Tallahassee and making incremental gains in eight rural counties where Southerland scored supermajority wins in 2012.
A memo to the troops by campaign manager Jill Gill Woodward released to the media by the campaign said Democrats were winning the vote by mail and early votes in the District. She calculated a 14.4 advantage and compared it to 2010 when Southerland was first elected, when the Democrats had just a 3.2 percent advantage at this point in the voting period.
Woodward also states that the Democrats are enjoying an eight percent advantage in vote by mail compared to a 0.5 percent lead in 2010.
She concluded her pep talk noting that the campaign had raised $600,000 more than Southerland’s, suggesting Graham has the money to keep her commercials airing and ground troops knocking on doors through next Tuesday.