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Hank Hayes • Jul 22, 2008 at 12:00 AM

The re-election campaign of incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. David Davis will today begin airing a TV ad that attempts to counter GOP challenger Phil Roe’s ad campaign accusing Davis of selling out to “Big Oil.”

Davis’ ad says Roe, Johnson City’s mayor, is “deceiving voters” about Davis’ record and insists Davis hasn’t pocketed money from oil interests.

The Davis ad also says the incumbent is “fighting to cut gas prices for our families with his ‘No More Excuses Energy Act.’”

The “No More Excuses” legislation, which calls for offshore drilling and other practices to develop more American energy, was introduced in the House one year ago by Texas Republican Mac Thornberry. Davis is a co-sponsor of the bill.

In response, Roe defended his ad, which points out Davis’ campaign has received a number of contributions from political action committees affiliated with oil companies.

“The facts are what they are,” Roe said. “The facts are he has received money from oil companies and pages and pages of special interests groups going into his campaign coffers. We’re not being deceptive at all.”

Davis said he is trying to correct an “implication” that he personally took the PAC money.

“It would be illegal to pocket money from the oil company. ... I think the voters of East Tennessee deserve better. They need the truth. I’m trying to set the record straight,” Davis said. “People know me in East Tennessee and know it is blatantly false. Right now we just needed to answer his ad.”

Davis has also been airing radio ads accusing Roe of deceptive campaign practices, and pointing out his endorsements from special interest groups like the National Rifle Association.

Davis’ re-election effort has taken in PAC contributions totaling $259,823 in this primary election cycle, according to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Roe has pledged not to accept PAC contributions but recently gave his campaign $250,000 in a loan and personal funds.

Under federal law, the FEC allows PACs to give candidate campaigns up to $5,000 per election.

PACs can only solicit contributions from people associated with the connected or sponsoring organization.

Early voting in the Aug. 7 primary has begun and ends Aug. 2.

For more about Roe go to www.roe4congress.com.

For more about Davis go to www.rightforcongress.com.

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