CARPENDALE - Representatives for U.S. Rep. Alan Mollohan and his opponent, Republican Chris Wakim, went head to head Tuesday evening during the Meet the Candidates Night at Carpendale Town Hall.

Mollohan, currently under fire for what Wakim has alleged are "hundreds of millions of dollars" of appropriations that have benefited friends and business associates over the years, was represented by his assistant, Lotta Neer.

Neer blasted Wakim for his negative campaign strategy, which she said has been "full of lies and innuendoes." The attacks have been influenced, she charged, by those from out-of-state who became unhappy because Mollohan stood up for what he believed as the ranking Democrat on the House Ethics Committee.

"Congressman Mollohan has been under constant attack and it's all paybacks," she said. "He stood up for bipartisan ethics and that made people like Carl Rove unhappy.

"Chris Wakim's campaign has been planned and orchestrated by out-of-state interests," she said.

Targeting Mollohan's voting record over the past 12 terms in Congress, David Avella, speaking on behalf of Wakim, said the Republican candidate has "looked at the values and the views of the people of the First Congressional District, and looked at Mollohan's record, and he saw a disconnect."

Running down a list of issues, Avella said Wakim, had he been in office instead of Mollohan, would have voted for such issues as the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security and the Patriot Act.

Mollohan, he said, voted against both.

"He also voted to give benefits to illegal aliens. Chris (Wakim) would not have done that," Avella said, charging that Mollohan has "a voting record out of touch with the voters of this district."

In regard to the allegations of inappropriate appropriations of funds, Neer noted that Mollohan is working to "bring federal dollars back into our communities."

Both Mollohan and his wife have also made their personal financial records public, proving there has been no improprieties.

"Chris Wakim cannot point to one fact that substantiates his ugly charges," she said.

Tuesday's Meet the Candidates Night was hosted by the town of Carpendale and moderated by Marla Pisciotta of the State Journal.

Liz Beavers can be reached at lbeavers@times-news.com.

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