Tomblin Won't Commit to Voting for Obama
West Virginia Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin speaks during a press conference Monday, Nov. 8, 2010, at the Capitol in Charleston, W.Va. Tomblin says he will put aside his legislative duties once he take over from Gov. Joe Manchin as West Virginia's chief executive. (AP Photo/Jeff Gentner)
(Jeff Gentner/AP Photo)
As Republicans continue to tie acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to President Obama in the closing days of the race, Tomblin is keeping his distance. When asked Saturday by Hotline On Call if he planned to vote for the president in 2012, Tomblin ran an end-run around the question and did not give provide a definitive answer.
"What I am going to concentrate on is the race on Tuesday," Tomblin said when asked directly by Hotline On Call if he was planning to vote for Obama next year.
The Republican Governors Association is blanketing the airwaves in advance of Tuesday's election with an ad that ties Obama and Tomblin together. The ad is running in the northeastern portion of the state in the notably expensive D.C. media market. It's also running in Charleston, the state's largest city.
Aware of the perils of being linked to Obama in a state where he is very unpopular, Tomblin's kept the president at arm's length is much the same manner as Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who has said he has not decided yet whether he is voting for Obama in 2012.
"There are certain areas that I disagree with the president on completely, and I will continue to fight that even though he may be in my party," Tomblin said after a rally in Logan County, south of Charleston. The area south of the state's largest city is strongly Democratic.
Meanwhile, a series of Friday text messages were sent to West Virginia voters aimed at linking Obama to Tomblin, prompting the Democratic Governors Association to call for a Federal Communications Commission investigation. The Tomblin campaign also went after Republican Bill Maloney "and his allies," saying they sent the text messages encouraging people to call Tomblin's campaign office. The messages went out to the mobile numbers of some West Virginians from firstname.lastname@example.org.
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"The Maloney campaign has absolutely no involvement in the text messages that were sent out to West Virginia families," said Maloney spokesperson Michelle Yi. "These accusations made against our campaign by Earl Ray Tomblin are categorically false. Bill Maloney would never condone actions like this and he is regretful that so many West Virginians have been inconvenienced. Bill calls upon the responsible party to stop this effort immediately."
"After Bill Maloney's campaign was implicated in an illegal extortion scheme to impugn Governor Tomblin's reputation, we didn't think that the Republicans could sink much lower in the West Virginia governor's race," DGA spokeswoman Lis Smith said. "But now they are apparently resorting to dirty tricks and illegal activity by sending patently false text messages to individuals who did not opt in to receiving such messages, as required by law.