By David Skolnick
Democrat Charlie Wilson said his opponent, U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, didn’t “personally” outsource hundreds of American jobs while working at his previous job — even though Wilson’s campaign is airing a television commercial with that assertion.
Wilson, of St. Clairsville, was asked about the claim during a Thursday endorsement interview with The Vindicator.
When asked about the ad, Wilson said, “I don’t think we say, ‘personally,’ do we?”
After being told the ad states that, Wilson said, “If I say he personally did that, I can certainly change that the next time we run that commercial.”
The campaign paid $174,969 to air the commercial in the district’s four broadcast markets, including Youngstown. It started running Sept. 18 and is to end Monday.
“I think both of us have come out swinging,” Wilson said of himself and Johnson.
Separate Ohio Elections Commission panels have found probable cause that each campaign made a false statement about the other. Wilson’s was on an Internet ad and Johnson’s was in a press release.
In response, Mark Weaver, Johnson’s campaign spokesman, said Wilson “is flat-out lying about Bill Johnson. In his interview with The Vindicator, he shows how deceitful and inept he really is.”
The 18-county 6th District includes all of Columbiana County and the southern portion of Mahoning County.
Wilson, who served in Congress for four years before losing to Johnson in 2010, was asked about the assistance he’s received from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which funds Democrats running for U.S. House seats.
“They’ve been very helpful to me,” he said.
The DCCC is spending about $2 million on ads in this race, Wilson said.
Wilson is the only Democrat in Ohio challenging an incumbent to receive the DCCC’s “Red-to-Blue” status. That means the committee is investing a lot of money in the race to turn it from Republican Red to Democratic Blue.
“They’re a significant player,” Wilson said.
It’s a different story for Republican Marisha Agana, the Republican nominee in the 13th Congressional District race, against U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, a Democrat from Niles.
During her Thursday endorsement meeting with the newspaper, Agana, a Howland pediatrician, said she receives no help from the National Republican Congressional Committee — the Republican organization that funds GOP candidates for the U.S. House — or the Republican National Committee.
That’s because, Agana acknowledged, she has failed to raise enough money, at least $100,000, to receive financial assistance.
“I have realized that even with the best credentials and the best of intentions, the party that I represent does not necessarily support me,” she said.
The congressional district leans heavily Democratic.
National Republicans “have a myopic view of running political campaigns,” she said.
“As a neophyte, I need to prove myself in terms of what they call ‘viability,’ and viability depends on your ability to raise money,” she said. “Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to meet their requirements.”