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Perriello hits the airwaves with economic message

Ben Pershing

Freshman Rep. Tom Perriello (D) is ramping up his reelection campaign, putting a pair of television spots on the air touting his efforts to boost the economy in Virginia's 5th district.

Perriello, who will face state Sen. Robert Hurt (R) in November, is viewed by both parties as one of the most vulnerable lawmakers on the ballot. He has drawn attention for supporting President Obama's top agenda items -- health-care reform, the economic stimulus measure and the "cap and trade" energy bill -- even as other endangered Democrats like Rep. Glenn Nye (D-Va.) chose a more conservative path.

But Perriello's campaign ads don't directly mention those votes, using a bit of humor to keep the focus on his record of creating jobs. The campaign's 30-second TV ad went on the air a few days ago, and the 60-second version was unveiled Wednesday:

"I fought to add new jobs at dairy farms, and landfill projects that turn methane waste into clean energy ... while I strongly opposed the big bank bailouts," Perriello says in the spot. (He was not yet in office during the 2008 vote that created the controversial Troubled Asset Relief Program, but he did vote in January 2009 against releasing a portion of the bailout money.)

The ad uses some levity to make its point --showing Perriello stepping in cow manure, spilling coffee on himself in a police car and getting covered with dust at a construction site -- all to convey the idea that the first-term lawmaker is a hands-on representative of the district. Perriello also emphasizes his independence, declaring that he hasn't taken any money "from federal lobbyists."

Perriello may not directly mention his energy and health-care votes in his ad but Hurt and the National Republican Congressional Committee most certainly will. The question for the Democrat is whether his message of independence and economic results can overcome an anti-incumbent climate and the fundamentals of a district that leans strongly toward the GOP.

By Ben Pershing  |  June 30, 2010; 9:45 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races , Ben Pershing , Election 2010 , Robert Hurt , Tom Perriello  
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