The Associated Press
Friday, September 29, 2006; 9:17 PM
PHILADELPHIA -- A Democratic House candidate has launched the first TV commercial to focus on his Republican opponent's affair with a woman who claimed Rep. Don Sherwood abused her.
Chris Carney's commercial features a Republican voter from Sherwood's hometown who speaks directly to the camera and says: "This incident with Don Sherwood just cuts right at the core values of our district."
As he speaks, the phrases "repeatedly choking" and "attempting to strangle plaintiff," taken from a lawsuit filed against the four-term congressman, appear on screen.
The ad does not mention that Sherwood was never charged, and Sherwood's spokesman called the spot misleading.
Carney and Sherwood are locked in a battle for a seat considered safely Republican until last year, when the conservative congressman's five-year extramarital affair became public.
Sherwood admitted to the affair with Cynthia Ore, but denied any abuse. The married father of three reached a confidential settlement with Ore, who sued claiming Sherwood had choked her at his Washington apartment.
Sherwood's spokesman, Jake O'Donnell, said Carney has broken a pledge to refrain from running attack ads.
"Chris Carney said when he first announced he was running that he was going to run on the issues, and was not going to talk about the personal situation. But clearly his campaign has decided to do something different," O'Donnell said. "They're not interested in telling the truth in that ad."
Carney said Friday that the ad focuses on an issue important to voters.
"Wherever we are in the district, the constituents are talking about it," he said. "It's an issue that matters to everyone."
The spot, which began airing in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre TV market Thursday night, was part of the campaign's weekly ad buy of $75,000. The campaign said it has not determined how long it will run.