By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer
ERLANGER - Republican Kevin Murphy has aired the second television ad of his 4th Congressional District campaign.
Meanwhile, Geoff Davis, Murphy's opponent in the May primary, has opened a big fund-raising lead but may not use any of his money to counter Murphy's television ads.
The race is also turning bitter as campaign surrogates traded barbs Friday.
Earlier this week Murphy, an Erlanger lawyer, began running ads on stations in the Cincinnati and eastern Kentucky markets. The ads tout his opposition to federal estate, stock dividend and capital gains taxes and support for making permanent the tax cuts President Bush has pushed through Congress.
Davis' campaign manager, Justin Brasell, said Murphy is "wasting his money right now" on television ads and should be "saving his money for when people are paying attention to the primary race."
"We agree with all those (tax) issues," Brasell said. "But as of right now we have no plans to advertise on TV in the primary.
"That could change, but we are out meeting people in all 24 counties of the 4th District, targeting and meeting likely primary voters," Brasell said.
Jay Townsend, Murphy's media and political consultant, said Davis - who lost the 2002 race to Democratic U.S. Rep. Ken Lucas - does not know how to run an effective campaign.
"In 2002 Geoff Davis blew a race he should have won because he could never tell anybody why he wanted the job or what he would do with it when he got it," Townsend said.
On the fund-raising front, Brasell said the Davis camp will file a campaign finance report with the Federal Election Commission next week showing his campaign has raised $720,369 for the race, including $205,208 in the fourth quarter of last year, and has $504,132 cash on hand.
At the same point in the 2002 race - which Davis last to Lucas by just three points - Davis had $175,000 cash on hand.
Murphy has not yet filed his campaign report, but Townsend said the campaign has raised more than $400,000 and has more than $300,000 cash on hand.
Democrat Nick Clooney is unopposed in the his primary.
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