7:20 PM EDT, November 2, 2012
Two years after Morgan Griffith defeated 9th District Congressman Rick Boucher, a new challenger is hoping to turn the tables. Democrat Anthony Flaccavento is challenging the Republican incumbent in a district that stretches from the coalfields to the Roanoke Valley, and includes portions of the Alleghany Highlands and southside Virginia.
During a recent visit to Floyd and in stops across the 9th District, Griffith has been making the case for a second term. His focus remains on the national debt and unnecessary regulations he says are crippling coal and other industries in southwest Virginia.
"What I say is 'Look, I told you two years ago that I would go to Washington to fight to bring down the debt and fight to make sure that we could keep our jobs in southwest Virginia and make the economy better," Griffith told us in an interview. "I've been fighting to do that."
Griffith's Democratic challenger Anthony Flaccavento is also focused on jobs, but from a different perspective. A farmer, business owner and community leader, Flaccavento advocates what he describes as a bottom-up approach to build stronger local economies. He says he's found supporters among the skeptics. "All you have to do is say I'm running for Congress and you automatically have a room full of skeptics," Flaccavento said, "but the exciting thing is when people hear, again, what I've done with my life and the way I want to approach the issues, it seems to them to be very refreshing, it seems different from what they've been hearing. "
Griffith has a 3 to 1 advantage in fundraising, having brought in $1.3 million at the last reporting period to Flaccavento's $400 thousand, but both men have aired television ads and travelled relentlessly through the district. Flaccavento says he will do better than many people expect on Tuesday.
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