Decision 2008: Campaign Ad Flares Tempers in the Wiregrass

Dothan, ALa. (WSFA) --  The mudslinging going on between the candidates in the district two republican run-off has taken a new twist.

An ad from the Jay Love campaign claims Harri Anne Smith supports gambling for campaign contributions.

It suggests a prominent developer is tied to Smith and her efforts to allow gambling.

You've seen the ads running on your television set in the last few weeks.

Jay Love and Harri Ann Smith accusing each other of raising taxes to gain an edge in the July 15th election.

The most recent ad from Jay Love goes further in an attack of the state senator from Slocomb.

In the ad, developer Ronnie Gilley's name is circled in red giving the appearance he gave money Smith's campaign and now he is seeing red.

"That attaches me giving gambling money to Harri Ann Smith and that's as far from the truth as you could possibly get," said Gilley.

"It actually says I took a financial contribution from him, which I didn't, he didn't give me one," explained Smith.

Gilley is the developer of Country Crossings, a new entertainment venue that includes electronic bingo. Earlier this year Smith introduced a senate bill that would have made electronic bingo illegal, but she pulled her bill after constituent complaints.

"The issue in this case is really about senator Smith and her flip flop and now support of Vegas style gambling in the district," said Michael Lowry, campaign manager for Jay Love.

Gilley also says the Love campaign personally asked him for a contribution.

"Jay had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Gilley just as he would with any other voter in the district and during that discussion Jay talked with him about his vision for economic development in the wiregrass," said Lowry.

"That is a blatant absolute lie, the man sat in my office asked for my support asked for my money and told us he would have no issues with our project," explained Gilley, as he responded to Love's statement.

Gilley says he's now fighting to keep his name out of this race, because he doesn't want Country Crossings or his company associated with a political fight.

However, after what's happened, Gilley is ready to cast his vote.

"Whether she likes it or not, I am supporting Harri Anne Smith now"

And that support comes 12 days before the runoff.

Gilley also told WSFA 12 news, the only candidate he donated money to was Dr. Craig Schmidtke, who finished third in the primary.

You'll recall Love got 35 percent of the vote to Smith's 22 percent.

Reporter: Daniel Curtis