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Parties woo wary voters in bid to control US House

 Rep. Tom Perriello, D-Va., right, talks with Chase City Mayor Eddie Bratton, seated second from right,  Town Manager Ricky Reese, second from left, a...
 Virginia State Sen. Robert Hurt , right, shows former US Senator George Allen the hole in his shoe prior to the start of a Family Foundation Dinner  ...
 Rep. Tom Perriello, D-Va., talks with Charlotte Wilson, left,  during a walking tour of downtown  Chase City, Va., Thursday, July 8, 2010. Perriello ...
 Rep.Tom Perriello, D-Va., left, talks with market owner, Tim Robinette during a walking tour of downtown  Chase City, Va., Thursday, July 8, 2010. Pe...
 Rep. Tom Perriello , D-Va., left, talks with community activist Joe Epps  during a walking tour of downtown  Chase City, Va., Thursday, July 8, 2010....
 Virginia State Sen. Robert Hurt greets constituents prior to the start of a Family Foundation Dinner at the Virginia Museum of Natural History in   M...
 Virginia State Sen. Robert Hurt greets constituents prior to the start of a Family Foundation Dinner at theVirginia Museum of Natural History in  Mar...
 Virginia State Sen. Robert Hurt greets constituents prior to the start of a Family Foundation Dinner at the Virginia Museum of Natural History6 in   ...
 Rep. Tom Perriello, D-Va., gets out of his pickup as he arrives for a walking tour of downtown  Chase City, Va., Thursday, July 8, 2010. Perriello fa...
 Virginia State Sen. Robert Hurt, center, talks to constituents prior to the start of a Family Foundation Dinner at the Virginia Museum of Natural His...

House Wary Voters

Rep. Tom Perriello, D-Va., right, talks with Chase City Mayor Eddie Bratton, seated second from right, Town Manager Ricky Reese, second from left, a...

House Wary Voters

Virginia State Sen. Robert Hurt , right, shows former US Senator George Allen the hole in his shoe prior to the start of a Family Foundation Dinner ...

House Wary Voters

Rep. Tom Perriello, D-Va., talks with Charlotte Wilson, left, during a walking tour of downtown Chase City, Va., Thursday, July 8, 2010. Perriello ...

House Wary Voters

Rep.Tom Perriello, D-Va., left, talks with market owner, Tim Robinette during a walking tour of downtown Chase City, Va., Thursday, July 8, 2010. Pe...

House Wary Voters

Rep. Tom Perriello , D-Va., left, talks with community activist Joe Epps during a walking tour of downtown Chase City, Va., Thursday, July 8, 2010....

House Wary Voters

Virginia State Sen. Robert Hurt greets constituents prior to the start of a Family Foundation Dinner at the Virginia Museum of Natural History in M...

House Wary Voters

Virginia State Sen. Robert Hurt greets constituents prior to the start of a Family Foundation Dinner at theVirginia Museum of Natural History in Mar...

House Wary Voters

Virginia State Sen. Robert Hurt greets constituents prior to the start of a Family Foundation Dinner at the Virginia Museum of Natural History6 in ...

House Wary Voters

Rep. Tom Perriello, D-Va., gets out of his pickup as he arrives for a walking tour of downtown Chase City, Va., Thursday, July 8, 2010. Perriello fa...

House Wary Voters

Virginia State Sen. Robert Hurt, center, talks to constituents prior to the start of a Family Foundation Dinner at the Virginia Museum of Natural His...

If Republicans are to harness enough voter anger to take control of the House of Representatives in November, they will have to get rid of first-year lawmakers such as Tom Perriello of Virginia, who won his seat two years ago by just 727 votes.
His support for President Barack Obama's health care and energy bills make him a White House favorite. He also is a prime target for Republicans in this rural, economically troubled district, which Obama lost to Republican John McCain in the 2008 presidential election.
First, however, Republicans must unite their own fractious base. Some tea party activists still say the Republican nominee, state Sen. Robert Hurt, is too mainstream and orthodox.
The tea partiers, who take their name from the Boston Tea Party, when colonial-era Americans threw English tea into Boston Harbor to protest taxes, is a loose coalition of conservative activists who believe government has grown so large that it threatens individual liberties.
One such activist, Jeff Clark, is on the November ballot as an independent, and he threatens to siphon conservative votes from Hurt.
The central Virginia contest is a microcosm of competitive races nationwide that will determine whether Republicans pick up the 40 House seats they need to regain a majority in the 435-seat House after four years out of power.
Perriello, like scores of fellow Democrats, is pressed to defend his votes for changing the U.S. health care delivery system and limits on carbon emissions to many of his constituents who see them as too costly and intrusive.
Like many Republican challengers, Hurt is criticizing those votes and hoping a rising tide of public alarm about federal debt and spending will overcome unfavorable memories of George W. Bush's presidency.
Polls show that the Republican Party remains relatively unpopular. Hurt and other Republican candidates must convince voters they have rejected their own deficit-spending habits and can manage the economy better than Democrats.
Perriello constantly cites his efforts to bring jobs to the district. His newest TV ad mentions federal money for local police and a stimulus grant that helps the city of Martinsville generate power from its landfill's methane gas. The grants are sometimes overshadowed, however, by new layoffs in a Danville factory or the recently closed tire-making plant in Scottsville.
Perriello _ an earnest, round-faced man with broad shoulders, a Ford pickup truck and a Yale law degree _ tries to make a virtue of his votes for health care and climate change bills. Campaigning recently in a sprawling antiques store in Scottsville, he said he is willing to take risks to help Virginians obtain medical insurance and new clean energy jobs.
Sometimes, he said, "you're losing 400 jobs here and creating 40 here, so we're excited about the 40. But we're treading water right now."
Cameron Crounse, who had invited Perriello to his River Town Antiques store, listened as the 35-year-old lawmaker told officials he is pursuing more grants to spur economic growth. But it was nOt clear whether the half-hour visit did anyone much good.
"I want to throw out everybody and start over," Crounse said in an interview as Perriello was leaving.
Hurt won a spirited Republican primary last month when tea party supporters split their votes rather than unite behind one hard-right candidate. A conservative by virtually any measure, Hurt is now struggling to appease those who question the fierceness of his views.
At a Republican breakfast in Charlottesville, Hurt spoke for 11 minutes and then took three questions. They ranged from edgy to hostile.
"I don't think the message that you have is going to beat Perriello," the first questioner said. "You didn't once tell us what you're going to do" to lower taxes, reduce federal spending or repeal health care reform.
Hurt, a lawyer and nine-year state legislator, calmly said he would fight to cut taxes, end funding of the health care law and amend the Constitution to require a balanced budget.
Like many Republicans, Hurt is tying his opponent to Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat and speaker of the House, one of Congress' most liberal members, hoping that she is a better guilt-by-association target than Obama, whose personal popularity remains fairly high. Hurt rarely veers from a well-tested, mainstream Republican message: If the government cuts taxes, spending and regulation, then the private sector will create jobs and the economy will expand.
Asked in an interview if the Wall Street meltdown and Gulf of Mexico oil spill suggest that regulation is vital, he said it should be carefully tailored and used only where necessary.
The bumps that Hurt and Perriello are finding on the campaign trail reflect nationwide discontent and suspicion among voters. The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 68 percent of voters lack confidence in Democratic lawmakers, and 72 percent lack confidence in Republican lawmakers.
Only 26 percent of registered voters said they were likely to vote for their current House representative. Among those most likely to vote, 56 percent said they would prefer a Republican takeover of the House.
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Online:
http://tinyurl.com/3yu92h4
http://fifthdistrictgop.com/


Updated : 2020-12-03 12:25 GMT+08:00