Sunday, August 27, 2006

Mollohan Goes Negative in Early TV Ads

The TV ad war officially began this week in the race for congressman from the first congressional district.

Embattled Congressman Alan Mollohan, D-Fairmont, began his campaign with a negative attack ad against Delegate Chris Wakim, R-Wheeling, alleging Wakim to be an illegal gambling operator and a dishonest campaigner. An ad by a n independent organization (whose name I will list here when I see the ad again) highlighted Mollohan's extensive earmarks and financial relations with a network of 5 nonprofits. As of this morning, I have not yet seen an official Wakim TV ad.

That Mollohan, a 12-term incumbent, would open his TV campaign with a negative attack on his opponent speaks volumes about his own assessment of his chances in November. While incumbents ordinarily begin their advertising with reminders of their votes and accomplishments in office, Mollohan is woefully short on any accomplishments other than the earmarks whose propriety have been called into question. While no polls on this race have been made public, a poll early this summer by West Virginia Media showed that over 2/3 of respondents said they believed Mollohan was somewhat or very likely to face criminal charges as a result of the ongoing probe of his earmarks and personal finances by the National Legal and Policy Center and the Justice Department.