ABC News’ Michelle Dubert reports:
Democrats going to great lengths to distance themselves from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Barack Obama is not new this election cycle.
Lawmakers in tight races nationwide have done it.
But one candidate has taken the distance to the next level, going so far as to align himself with Republican Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.
In his recent ad called “Numbers,” Rep. Bobby Bright, D-Ala., puts his smiling headshot side-by-side with Boehner’s, adding that he voted with the Republican leader 80 percent of the time. The ad was first released Sept. 20th and has since been taken off the air by Bright.
You can watch the ad here.
It’s an interesting strategy, and begs the question, how far will Democrats in tough districts go to cast themselves as independents rather than standard bearers of the unpopular incumbent party?
The GOP has hardly welcomed Bright with open arms.
"Bobby Bright is making our case for us: Republicans have better ideas for creating jobs and cutting spending, and that's why his latest phony attempt to play Mr. Independent is backfiring," said NRCC spokesman Andy Sere in a statement.
As one of the more conservative Democrats in the House, Bright can credibly argue his independence; he voted against three big-ticket issues on the GOP agenda this season – the economic stimulus package, against health care reform and against the cap-and-trade bill passed through the House.
He has also refused to endorse Pelosi for another term as Speaker should the Democrats maintain control of the House.
Republicans are eyeing Bright’s district as a potential pick-up opportunity. Alabama’s second district, which encompasses part of Montgomery, had Republican representation in Congress from 1964 to 2008, when Bright was first elected.
Recent polling suggests that the freshman Bright, a former mayor of Montgomery, is ensnared in a competitive race with Montgomery Councilor Martha Roby, a member of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Young Gun” program. However, a poll conducted last week by the Democratic firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research for the DCCC showed Bright with a more comfortable margin and hovering over the symbolic 50 percent, leading Roby 52 percent to 43 percent.