While Sen. Orrin Hatch is in New Orleans next week attending the Republican National Convention, his Democratic opponent, Brian Moss, will launch his first media advertisements in his race against the Republican senator.
Moss will begin running several radio advertisements criticizing Hatch for his vote against The Child Nutrition Bill - a bill passed by Congress that Moss says means free food for 113,000 Utah children and old folks. The spots will also criticize what Moss says is Hatch's anti-education stands.As part of that food bill debate, Hatch supported an amendment to the bill - which wasn't adopted - that would have required surplus corn meal and flour go to the Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program, before federal money was used to buy other staples, like meat and cheese. Moss is critical of Hatch's support of what he calls the "let them eat corn meal" amendment.
Hatch defends his vote and says he has steadfastly supported aid for the poor and handicapped and education. He voted against the food bill because it would have cost hundreds of millions of dollars and no one suggested where the money would come from.
Even though he leads Moss by 47 points in the polls, Hatch has already spent more than $100,000 on one round of television advertisements and may run more TV ads later.
Moss said he'll spend about $20,000 on his radio advertisements. "We'll also be putting up some billboards in the next two weeks. It's the poor man's campaign - radio and billboards, no TV," Moss joked.
Hatch has raised about $2 million for his re-election. He's spent about half and, the latest Federal Election Commission reports show, has more than $1 million in the bank.
Such a huge cash reserve, combined with his lead in the polls, has caused Moss problems with his fund raising. Moss originally hoped to raise $1 million. He's scaled that back to $500,000. And now says he may not have enough money to run any TV advertisements at all.
"I'm a real fiscal conservative. I won't spend money I don't have. I won't promise to run TV ads later, because if we don't have the money, we won't do it."
Moss, who said he expects that Hatch and his campaign will claim the new radio advertisements are negative campaigning, calls the ads direct, straightforward accounts of Hatch's record.
"Hatch said I was running a negative campaign before I'd even campaigned. These ads show the incumbent's record as it is. Hey, he has such a record that I don't need to make anything up. It's all there. I'm just discussing his public record. That's what the democratic election process is all about.
"I can already hear what they'll say about me: `There goes that scum-bag, again,' " he said. "Well, I'll continue to talk about the senator's rec-ord. The people have a right to know."