Perdue has been most willing of the Democratic candidates to go after Tomblin, the frontrunner, but had never taken him on so aggressively. A previous Perdue ad claimed viewers had paid for Tomblin's TV spots, because they paid their high utility bills, and then the companies donated to Tomblin's campaign. "We are disappointed that because his unrealistic ideas continue to fall flat with voters, John Perdue's desperate campaign has resorted to false personal attacks," said Tomblin's spokesperson Chris Stadelman in an email. "Perdue is attacking two pieces of bipartisan legislation that protect thousands of West Virginia jobs and keep millions of dollars in our economy. Voters won't be fooled by this kind of cheap politics because they understand that Governor Tomblin has an unblemished career in public life and is focused on the things that matter: creating jobs and lowering taxes for the people of West Virginia." While the other candidates have mainly focused on introducing themselves to voters during the brief campaign, as the clock ticks down to the May 14 primary, some have shown more willingness to take on the acting governor. When Tomblin declined to attend a debate with the Democratic candidates last night, state House Speaker Rick Thompson's (D) campaign lashed out at the acting governor. Thompson then bowed out as well, with his campaign manager Mike Plante bluntlysaying they weren't going because, "Earl Ray Tomblin's not showing up." Plante brought up questions about Tomblin's family's former gray-machine business, Southern Amusement. "They're legitimate questions, and he's skirting forums like this where he could be asked these things," said Plante. And at the debate, acting state Senate President Jeff Kessler (D) went after Tomblin and Thompson for the Legislature's failure to pass bills addressing Marcellus regulations and OPEB during the recent legislative session. "They did not lead during the session," Kessler said. In contrast, Tomblin just released a warm, upbeat ad featuring his wife saying that Tomblin is "a loving father, a good husband, and he's doing a great job as governor. I should know. We've been happily married for 31 years." Want the news first every morning? Sign up for National Journal's Need-to-Know Memo. Short items to prepare you for the day.
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