Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sticks and Stones

By Mark Fischenich
The Free Press
July 23, 2008

Two years ago, it appeared from Republican press releases that the Democratic candidate for Congress in southern Minnesota went by the initials “LTW.” Virtually every Republican news release referred to “Liberal Tim Walz.”

Walz went on to beat Congressman Gil Gutknecht, so Republican Party Chairman Ron Carey is trying a new one this campaign: “Washington Walz.”

The Democrats are also getting into the name game this time around. Starting this month, Walz’s Republican opponent has become “millionaire Dr. Brian Davis.” The state DFL and the Walz campaign have used it, and the national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee upped the ante Wednesday by calling him “multi-millionaire Dr. Brian Davis.”

Davis says they’ve got the wrong guy.

“My wife read that and said, ‘I didn’t know we were millionaires,” Davis said. “I don’t believe our total assets, even with our house, that we’re over $1 million.”

Walz open to drilling

And then there are the issues. The Walz and Davis campaigns have been battling over gas and energy prices for weeks, and another sign that it’s an important election issue came with Walz releasing a statement saying he is open to expanded domestic drilling and oil production. Walz said the expanded drilling must be done in a responsible manner and must be part of a bipartisan package that also includes conservation and the rapid development of alternative fuels.

Both Davis and state Sen. Dick Day, who is challenging Davis in the Republican primary election, support expanded drilling and list the fuel topic as the top concern of voters in the 1st District.