SALEM, Va.—As the cost of gasoline closes in on four dollars a gallon, Republicans and Democrats are making energy prices an issue in their campaigns. Monday, it was 9th District Congressman Morgan Griffith, criticizing the Obama administration for an energy policy he says will drive prices higher..
Griffith stressed familiar themes as his kicked off his reelection campaign Monday afternoon in Salem, including the fight against excessive regulations and government spending. Like other candidates from both major parties, he also believes rising energy prices are quickly becoming a major concern for many voters in his district.
He wasn't paying, but Griffith was pumping gas Monday afternoon at the Marathon station on West Main Street in Salem. "I think it was a nice gesture," said customer Angela Loving, "but I wish he could do something about the price of gas."
"I think it's pretty good," Wallace Wright told News 7, "he saved me from getting my hands dirty."
Announcing his reelection campaign with 6th District Congressman Bob Goodlatte and Salem delegate Greg Habeeb alongside, Griffith said the Obama administration has not made energy prices a serious priority. "Washington needs to make it clear that we're serious about using American energy," Griffith said.
Democrats are working the issue as well, Last week Roanoke Senator John Edwards said the President has increased domestic oil production and reduced dependence on foreign oil, and he defended the Obama administration against Republican attacks. "All they talk about is drill baby drill," he said. "What about other approaches as well."
Griffith said he believes rising energy prices might be second only to jobs among the most important issues of the Fall campaigns. "And so all combined, the overall energy prices going up , electricity, gas heating fuel, etc., "Griffith said, "I think it's going to be a pretty big issue in this campaign."
Griffith will have opposition in the November election. Jeremiah Heaton and Anthony Flaccavento of Abingdon, are vying for the Democratic nomination that will be decided at a party convention in May.