Senate Campaign Heats Up Days Before Election - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/15/04-East Texas

Senate Campaign Heats Up Days Before Election

After months of campaigning and millions of dollars in spending by the candidates, East Texas voters are set to choose a new District 1 State Senator Tuesday.

Republican Kevin Eltife and Democrat Paul Sadler have been locked in a heated battle for the office since coming out on top in January's special election. Over the last month the two have raised and spent record amounts of money and weathered some pretty tough negative advertising. Now with the election just days away the big question is how much will all that affect voters.

Cruising around East Texas you cannot help but notice the giant billboards urging you to vote for your next State Senator. Those signs are just part of a massive advertising campaign by both candidates, helping push campaign spending to record numbers.

In the most recent reports filed with the Texas Ethics Commission on February 9th Sadler reported spending $767,000 dollars from January 11th to February 7th, putting his total campaign spending at around 1.3 million dollars. In the same period, Eltife reported spending just under that at $746,000, with total spending reaching 1.2 million dollars.

East Texans are divided on just what that spending is buying saying the massive advertising has just diluted the issues.

The candidates themselves have shied away from it, but negative ads have also targeted them both. Eltife and Sadler have shunned the ads recently. Voters agree the negative ads have only been harmful in the race for both.

Voting in the run-off election for the District 1 Senate seat begins Tuesday.

Chris Gibson, reporting 

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