Alex Moseley, chairman of the Anderson County Republican Party, suggests the Democratic candidate for county mayor is a liberal politician.
But the candidate, Warren Gooch, says Moseley is trying to confuse voters.
Moseley sent out a letter last week saying that Gooch, an Oak Ridge lawyer, has helped raise money for Al Gore and donated to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and others.
“Mr. Gooch has supported these liberal politicians to the tune of more than $100,000,” Moseley wrote. “As we have learned in the past, if it votes like a liberal, and it donates like a liberal, it’s a liberal.”
Contacted for comment on Sunday, Gooch said he remains focused on issues that are important to Anderson County.
“It’s no surprise to anybody that I’ve contributed to political candidates and raised money for political candidates,” Gooch said.
But he said he has also contributed to Republicans, including U.S. Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee.
“It’s not about partisan politics,” Gooch said. “It’s about the county.”
Moseley said conservative and moderate Democrats are fleeing from Gooch’s campaign to support Republican Terry Frank.
Gooch pointed out that he was out delivering Republicans for Gooch signs Sunday evening.
Moseley also said Gooch “threw a party celebrating Barack Obama’s election.”
Gooch said he had a luncheon on Inauguration Day 2009 and invited people from Anderson County and the surrounding region.
“There’s an attempt going on here to cause confusion,” he said of Moseley’s letter.
Gooch and Frank are running for Anderson County mayor in the Aug. 2 election.
The winner will serve a special two-year term, filling the rest of the unexpired term of Anderson County Mayor Rex Lynch. He resigned in January 2011 after being indicted for sales tax fraud.
Former Anderson County Commissioner Myron Iwanski is serving as interim county mayor.
Early voting starts July 13.