Topeka Democratic congressional candidate Stephene Moore could glance at the television Tuesday for a reminder of how grueling the race in the 3rd District will be over the next three months.
A political advertisement in rotation since the conclusion of the August primary portrays Moore as a liberal eager to do House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's bidding in Washington, D.C.
Moore, working to follow her husband, retiring U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore, into national politics, said the spot sponsored by Americans for Prosperity didn't pass the truth test. She is a fiscal conservative and Dennis Moore took the same approach in Congress, she said.
"There are definitely misleading elements in this ad," she said. "I'm going to stand up and work for Kansans in Congress. I think it's unfortunate that negative ads are already airing."
State Rep. Kevin Yoder, an Overland Park Republican, won a nine-person GOP primary to earn the 3rd District nomination. The geographically compact district encompasses Wyandotte and Johnson counties, which anchor the west side of the Kansas City metropolitan area, and a portion of Douglas County, including half of Lawrence.
Moore said Yoder should denounce the TV assault and disavow the attempt to characterize her as a clone of the House speaker from California.
"I'd be nice if Mr. Yoder didn't remain silent on this," Moore said. "Voters want a break."
Travis Smith, Yoder's campaign manager, said Moore's concerns about ad content should be directed at Americans for Prosperity, a national organization with a chapter in Kansas that advocates for limited government and free markets.
"If Mrs. Moore wants every ad taken down that points out her record on the issues, then this is going to be a long campaign," Smith said. "She should, instead, answer questions about why she supports cap and trade, Obamacare and the stimulus plan that failed to stimulate anything but the size of government."
Derrick Sontag, Kansas director for Americans for Prosperity, said the commercial appearing in the Kansas City market couldn't be accurately defined as negative.
"It's an ad talking about positions she'd be taking," Sontag said. "To me, negative campaigning is when you start talking about personal lives."
The $147,000, eight-day ad campaign on network and cable channels says Dennis Moore and Pelosi joined with other Democrats to control the U.S. House in a period when federal spending skyrocketed, the deficit escalated and 100,000 Kansans were jobless.
Sontag said the ad appropriately urged viewers to quiz the Democratic candidate for Congress, "Will she work for Kansas or Nancy Pelosi?"
Moore said she is working hard to engage the district's voters without blanketing the airwaves with commercials denouncing her opponent. She doubted the approach taken by Americans for Prosperity would resonate with the electorate in November.
Based on Yoder's conduct in the primary against fellow Republicans, she said, it would come as no surprise if he remained quiet as his allies aired a "negative attack" during the first week of the general election.
"It's going to be an interesting race," Moore said. "The focus needs to stay on the issues."