Oct. 31, 2008 11:41

While the 7th Congressional Distict race remained quiet through most of the election cycle, the contest is now heating up in the final days before the election. State Sen. Don Cravins Jr. has been prodding Congressman Charles Boustany for weeks, with tongue-in-cheek ads that mock the surgeon-turned-politician for collecting lucrative medical disability checks and a Congressional salary, voting against raising the minimum wage, and voting in favor of a $700 billion bailout for Wall Street. Boustany apparently wasn’t amused. The Congressman has pulled out the big guns with his latest ad, blasting Cravins on taxes, spending and hurricane insurance. Democrats point to Boustany’s attack ad - his first of the campaign - as a sign that the incumbent is getting nervous about his re-election prospects. Republicans say Boustany is simply hitting Cravins back. (The Louisiana Democratic Party has also launched a new online attack ad, which is running on this Web site, portraying some of Boustany’s comments as hypocritical).

Boustany’s ad alleges Cravins voted to increase taxes 40 times, double his office budget, and increase hurricane insurance deductibles. The commercial ca't be found on YouTube or on the Congressman’s campaign Web site. Cravins campaign responded quickly with a press release calling the ad a lie. The insurance premium bill, SB 160, follows a policy well established in many other states, allowing companies to charge different named-storm deductibles in different regions. Cravins points out that the bill was designed to foster competition and reduce rates; it was also supported by Republican Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon. As for the ad’s other claims, Cravins points out the commercial gives no citation for its claim on Cravins’ votes to raise taxes, and the office spending accusation refers to a bill which increased salaries for all state legislative aids. "[Boustany] cannot defend his record, so he is attacking mine," Cravins states in his press release. "The ads do nothing to address the issues that are affecting working families in southwest Louisiana.”

Congressman Boustany released the following statement to The Independent regarding the tone of the campaign turning increasingly negative. “I remain committed to serving the people of Southwest Louisiana by advancing coastal restoration, helping to lower gas prices and increasing access to quality healthcare. This campaign is about delivering for Southwest Louisiana, and voters deserve to know my opponent’s record of continually voting to increase taxes on our families and small businesses.”