Republican Congressman Lee Terry said Monday that his Democratic opponent, John Ewing, overspent his budget as Douglas County treasurer in each of the past six years.
“We can't afford to send John Ewing to Washington,” Terry said at a press conference to announce a new television campaign ad.
Ewing defended his management of the Treasurer's Office, saying that he has provided good service while cutting spending. He noted that his office has received a national award for putting efficiencies in place.
“I've saved money by implementing technology, streamlining services, and using attrition to reduce the size of the Treasurer's office,” Ewing said in a statement.
The Terry ad targets Ewing's record, which he has made a central part of his campaign. Ewing has claimed that he saved $1.2 million for taxpayers by cutting 20 positions.
But Terry said Ewing actually spent more than the budgets set by the Douglas County Board each year, amounting to a total of $700,000 in overspending over six years.
Records show, however, that after the board made midyear increases in Ewing's budgets, Ewing came in under the final budget each year. In all, Ewing spent a total of about $155,000 less than the revised budgets.
Clare Duda, a Republican county board member who attended Terry's press conference, said Ewing's spending caused problems for the county board. He said the board was trying to cut the budget to avoid the need for higher property taxes.
“John Ewing is a friend, a good guy. I have great respect for him,” Duda said. “But he is not a fiscal conservative,”
Ewing said Terry's criticism is off base.
“Lee Terry has been part of ineffective Washington government for so long that he doesn't recognize when government works well,” Ewing said. “For Lee Terry, cutting government spending is only a sound bite considering he supported two unpaid wars, the big bank bailout and an unfunded Medicare prescription drug program adding over $10 trillion to the national debt.”
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