Republicans have made Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA 05) the prime target in a July Fourth recess media blitz.
Starting Thursday, the National Republican Congressional Committee will slam Perriello in a television ad airing in Southside and portions of Southwest Virginia.
The NRCC plans to go after nearly 20 lawmakers during the recess, but Perriello is the only congressman nationwide to be targeted on television.
The commercial, obtained exclusively by NBC29, criticizes Perriello for his support of last week’s controversial cap and trade energy bill.
An announcer claims the climate change measure will “destroy jobs and cost middle-class families 1,800 dollars a year.”
The voice goes on to encourage voters to “call Perriello. Tell him he was wrong to vote for the Pelosi energy tax.”
Perriello, at his family home in Ivy, called the ad a cheap political game.
“I think [cap and trade] was a question of whether we were going to have the political courage to do it and unfortunately some saw a chance for partisan gain more than national security,” he said.
But analysts, including University of Virginia professor Larry J. Sabato, say the vote did come with some political risk.
“He took a chance on this one,” Sabato said of Perriello.
The GOP is running the ad in the Lynchburg-Danville media market, an area hard-hit by job loss and economic turmoil. It is just the kind of region Republicans believe will be decimated by the bill, should it become law.
“Tom Perriello himself has admitted that the middle-class families of his district oppose a job-killing national energy tax, yet he voted for it anyway,” said NRCC spokesman Andy Sere.
Perriello believes his district will come out a winner because of the energy bill.
“People know how important climate change security is,” he said.
Perriello stressed that he stands by his vote, no matter the political cost.
“If I have to choose between doing what’s right or doing what’s easy, I’m just the kind of guy who’s gonna stick with what’s right.”
Republicans have made Perriello a regular target. They hope to take back the seat he won last year by narrowly defeating six-term incumbent Virgil Goode. It was the closest of any House race in 2008.
“Republicans are naturally hoping that they can switch it back in a year when Barack Obama will not be on the ballot,” Sabato said.
But, he added, voters tend to have short memories.
“It’s an awfully long time to November 2010,” he said.
Full text of GOP-sponsored advertisement:
OBAMA INTERVIEW CLIP: “UNDER MY PLAN OF A CAP AND TRADE SYSTEM, ELECTRICITY RATES WOULD NECESSARILY SKYROCKET.”
ANNCR: “THAT’S RIGHT, SKYROCKET. IT’LL DESTROY JOBS AND COST MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES 18-HUNDRED DOLLARS A YEAR. EVERY TIME YOU TURN ON A SWITCH. AND TOM PERRIELLO’S VOTING WITH OBAMA AND WITH NANCY PELOSI OVER AND OVER. CALL PERRIELLO. TELL HIM HE WAS WRONG TO VOTE FOR THE PELOSI ENERGY TAX. [DISCLAIMER].”