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This is gonna get ugly. Strike that. The Kay Barnes, Sam Graves race in the Sixth already is. Up until this week, they’ve been merely trading ugly words in the press:

At a news conference Monday at her Northland headquarters, Barnes pointed to votes and campaign donations, and decried what she said was the 6th District Republican’s disdain for wind and other energy alternatives that have potential in northwest Missouri.

Graves shot back, saying through a spokesman that the former Kansas City mayor was cherry-picking votes that misrepresent his backing for alternative energy.

“What’s she’s doing is confusing you,” Jason Klindt said. “The energy bill has many parts. Sam is for common-sense energy solutions.”

Barnes said energy policy under President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Graves is a shambles. She sat in front of a sign depicting a federal tax-rebate check being sucked into the credit-card payment option at a gas pump. The headline: “Sam Graves’ Exxon Stimulus Package.”

Graves took offense and fired the first TV shot off Barnes’ bow, an underhanded little piece of work.

Both candidates are very well funded, so TV viewers in the Sixth are in for a long election season.

Graves is in a difficult position. He has to strike back when Barnes hits him over the head with his oil connections–and with wit like “Sam Graves’ Exxon Stimulus Package.” He has to, but with what? Scary San Francisco liberal? Oh, eek.

You can scare a good deal of the voters with that nonsense, but only before the economy tanks. Once it goes south, though, lotsa luck with that tactic. All Graves is doing is inviting Barnes to hit him over the head again, this time harder.

… Poor baby.