COLONIAL HEIGHTS — Incumbent GOP U.S. Rep. David Davis insisted Tuesday that his poll numbers are “looking good” although his re-election effort has launched a negative ad campaign against Republican primary challenger Phil Roe.
Davis’ campaign released an internal poll on June 13 saying he had a three-to-one lead over Roe, but Roe claims the 1st Congressional District race has been tightening leading up to Thursday’s primary.
No independent poll has been released to give an indication of how the Davis-Roe battle is doing with Northeast Tennessee Republicans who have been electing the district’s congressman for more than 100 years.
Davis visited the Fort Henry Drive Zoomerz in 90 degree heat Tuesday as part of a district gas station tour to drum up support for GOP proposals to lower gas prices. He called the visit a “congressional event” not related to his re-election campaign.
Roe’s TV ads have taken Davis to task for “pocketing money” given to his campaign by oil company political action committees (PACs).
When asked why his campaign has gone negative on Roe, Davis responded: “When you have someone spending almost half a million dollars telling someone that you’re pocketing money, which would be illegal, and he knows that ... you have to defend yourself, tell the truth and point out his hypocrisy. ... Now our (poll) lead is widening back up again.”
Davis has also claimed Roe gave money to an American Medical Association PAC that gave campaign funds to former Democratic presidential challenger Hillary Clinton.
“He’s saying he doesn’t believe in PACs, which is not true,” Davis said of Roe, who has made a pledge not to accept PAC contributions.
In a response issued Tuesday, Roe said he made a $500 contribution to the American Medical Association PAC in March. Roe said he attended a nonpartisan “school” for political candidates put on by the medical association. At the end of the session, participants were asked to make a donation.
“I believed the school was valuable, so I wrote a check,” Roe, Johnson City’s mayor, said in a prepared release.
While the ad wars go on between the two candidates, Davis said he will be on Capitol Hill today as part of a GOP effort calling for a vote on energy legislation.
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi adjourned the House last Friday, but a number of protesting Republican lawmakers remained on the House floor in Washington, D.C., although Congress is not in session.
“We’re going to be talking to the American people, either through blogs ... or press reports,” Davis said. “We’re welcoming people all over America to come to Washington and see something that’s historic when the speaker of the House turns out the lights, turns off the mics, turns off the cameras and refuses to take votes. ... We need to start using American energy, and I mean all energy ... wind technology, switchgrass. ... We need to start drilling for oil and natural gas, too.”
Those House Republicans are backing measures for off-shore and Arctic oil drilling, tax incentives to buy fuel-efficient vehicles, and alternative energy proposals.
At the Fort Henry Drive Zoomerz, where the gas price was $3.58 per gallon, Davis asked Blountville lawn mowing business operator John Necessary about how high gas prices are affecting him.
“It’s really hard on people who have to work for a living,” Necessary told Davis.