Hayesí Democratic challenger launching 1st TV ad

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

RALEIGH (AP) ó Democratic congressional challenger Larry Kissell points to his districtís economic woes as reason for voters to oust incumbent GOP Rep. Robin Hayes in the candidateís first television ad set to air Tuesday.
In the 30-second spot that will run across the 8th congressional district, Kissell says that during Hayesí 10 years in Congress, gas prices have ballooned, tens of thousands of district jobs have been lost and the country has become mired in war. Kissell concludes the ad by asking voters to put someone with new ideas into office.
ěHeís had his chance. We canít afford two more years of this,î Kissell said.
But Hayesí campaign spokesman, Steve Quain, said the adís claims misleads viewers about the districtís economy because while some jobs have been lost, more have been created during Hayesí tenure.
ěHeís now manipulating the truth and itís shameful,î Quain said.
Quain also said Hayes supports offshore drilling because he believes it will lower gas prices.
The ad, which Kissellís campaign said cost about $90,000, is the challengerís first media strike this campaign season as he again tries to knock out the five-term incumbent.
In 2006, Hayes narrowly defeated the underdog Kissell, a social studies teacher, by about 330 votes out of more than 120,000 cast. Hayes outspent Kissell by a nearly four-to-one margin.
Kissellís new advertisement echoes the staple issues of his first campaign: high energy costs, the war in Iraq and a struggling economy.
ěThe issues are more profound. Things have gotten worse,î Kissell said in an interview.
This yearís rematch has spurred support from national Democrats, who think Kissell could take over the mostly rural and socially conservative district that runs from Charlotte to Fayetteville.
But as of June 30, the end of the most recent campaign reporting period, Hayes had $1,174,000 in his campaign coffers while Kissell reported only $232,000.
In June, Hayes took his campaign to the airwaves with a radio ad accusing Kissell of skirting state and federal tax law by classifying his campaign workers as independent contractors and consultants. Such classifications requires the workers to pay their own income and payroll taxes while neither party pays unemployment taxes.
Kissell denounced the ad as ědesperate.î His campaign said it was already planning to switch some workers to classified full-time employees at the beginning of July.