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August 07, 2008 ads could backfire

A series of new radio advertisements looks like they could backfire, big-time.

The liberal group is up with ads against six House Republicans attacking them for their support of offshore drilling. Problem is: most of the targets represent energy-rich districts where drilling is viewed favorably, to put it mildly.

One target, Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), represents a west Texas district where the discovery of oil in the 1940s created wealth throughout the region, and the energy industry has since dominated the region’s economy.

And four of the six GOP targets hold heavily Republican seats and aren’t even facing credible challengers this election.

The ad targets: Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and Reps. John Culberson (R-Texas), Mary Fallin (R-Okla.), Mike Pence (R-Ind.), Mike Conaway (R-Texas) and Jon Porter (R-Nev.)

Already one Democratic challenger (who is a wind energy businessman), Michael Skelly, immediately condemned the ads. Skelly is a credible contender running against Culberson in a conservative-minded suburban Houston district filled with energy industry employees.

Skelly, in fact, has already called for Congress to lift the ban on offshore drilling.

“MoveOn’s opposition to drilling is 100% wrong, and so is John Culberson’s opposition to investment in renewable energy,” said Skelly. “Houstonians want honest solutions to our energy challenges. Drilling for oil is a crucial component of a balanced energy plan, and I strongly support it.”

The National Republican Congressional Committee also wasted no time in responding to the ads.

“We wholeheartedly endorse this colossal waste of funds,” said NRCC spokesman Ken Spain. “Not only is’s anti-drilling position out of step with 70 percent of Americans, but a member like Mike Conaway who represents the Texas oil patch will probably see his approval rating surge upward as a result of these ads."