Although the 2010 general election is almost 20 months away, charges and counter-charges are already flying between Democratic U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon, the longest-serving member of Tennessee's Congressional delegation, and Dave Evans, a Wartrace Republican who hopes to challenge him.
Evans, who is chairman of Bedford County Republican Party, formally announced his candidacy for the Sixth District seat at event last week in Cookeville.
Several weeks ago, Evans' campaign sent out a press release questioning Gordon's whereabouts and whether he was traveling in Europe at the taxpayers' expense. Gordon's press spokesman told the Times-Gazette during a visit to Shelbyville that Gordon was attending a NATO parliamentary assembly and produced a letter from a Republican congresswoman, Rep. Jo Ann Emerson of Missouri, defending U.S. Rep. John Tanner's participation in the same trip against criticisms by the state Republican Party. Tanner led the delegation, which included Gordon.
A Washington Post columnist, Al Kamen, mocked the trip, noting that it included a number of tourist-friendly destinations like Paris, Vienna and the Bavarian Alps.
Now, Gordon's campaign has alleged that position statements on Evans' campaign web site were plagiarized from the web site of a minor 2008 presidential candidate, Jerry Curry, and noted that they accidentally left in some references to the presidency ("As president, I will ...").
Evans' campaign told Adam Kleinheider of the Nashville Post that the copied text was part of a preliminary design and had not been meant for public consumption. However, the old site had already begun directing readers to visit the new site while the disputed text was being displayed.