Senate candidates Jerry Moran and Todd Tiahrt are crossing rhetorical swords over where the other should have been Thursday.
In competing news releases, Tiahrt is accusing Moran of ducking out on the anti-tax tea parties held in Kansas on tax day; Moran is accusing Tiahrt of ducking out on a congressional floor vote on a bill raising the national debt.
Both are members of the House of Representatives and competing in the Republican primary for the Senate seat being vacated by Sam Brownback, who is running for governor.
Moran, R-Hays, took the opening shot with a campaign news release criticizing Tiahrt, R-Goddard, for missing a floor vote Thursday on the Continuing Extension Act of 2010, which Moran said will add more than $18 billion to the federal deficit.
Tiahrt was in Kansas to attend a tea party rally in vote-rich Johnson County.
"It's both disappointing and ironic that Todd Tiahrt would actually skip a vote against more spending and increasing our federal deficit to attend a rally specifically about stopping Washington's spending," Moran campaign aide Dan Conston said in the release.
"On Tax Day, concerned Americans at tea parties across Kansas gathered to send Washington a message. ... Jerry Moran stood on the House floor to put a voice and a vote to their frustrations, while the other candidate (Tiahrt) went missing."
The Tiahrt campaign fired back its release, criticizing Moran for "refusal to face Tiahrt at the Tax Day Tea Party forum in Johnson County."
"Jerry's unwillingness to show up at scheduled forums ... illustrates his well documented timidity and lack of courage to face opposition," Tiahrt campaign aide Michelle Schroeder wrote.
"Voters are seeing through Jerry's election year conversion to conservatism and he is afraid to face their hard-hitting questions," Schroeder continued.