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Image: Gabriela Chirinos pumps gas on November 22, 2021 in Miami, Fla.
Gabriela Chirinos pumps gas in Miami lsat year. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Midterm messages on gas prices hit the airwaves

Republicans and Democrats have different messages when it comes to reining in gas prices.


Republicans and Democrats appear to have settled on two distinct messages as they try to convince voters that they're the party best equipped to tackle high gas prices.

On one side of the aisle, Republicans are running ads promising to "unleash American energy" if they're elected and blaming the Biden administration for fostering a dependency on foreign oil.

That phrase — "unleash American energy" has appeared in at least three House campaign ads just this month.

In Washington's 5th District, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers told voters this month, "Inflation is a hidden tax on families. President Biden doesn't know how to fix it. I have some ideas: balance the budget, stop paying people not to work, unleash American energy to lower gas prices."

In Tennessee's 5th District, Republican Jeff Beierlein is running to fill a seat left vacant by Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper, who is retiring at the end of this term.

In one of Beierlein's campaign ads this month, a narrator tells viewers, "Jeff Beierlein will hold the line on Joe Biden, fight inflation, cut taxes, unleash American energy."

And in Nevada's 1st District, an outside group running ads attacking Democrat Dina Titus told viewers, "Call Dina Titus. Tell her to vote to unleash American made oil and gas."

Democrats running for office have coalesced around a different message to convince voters they can tackle high gas prices: blaming energy companies for price gouging.

It is a message advanced by President Joe Biden, too. In a June letter to oil companies, the president chastised them for "worsening the pain" at the pump with "historically high refinery profit margins."

House Majority Forward, a non-profit arm of the House Majority PAC, seized on this message and is running ads in some swing districts praising Democratic members of Congress for tackling price gouging.

One ad in Iowa's 3rd District features a narrator telling viewers, "Now more than ever, we need leaders fighting to lower costs and standing up to the big corporations that are price gouging. That's why Representative Cindy Axne is taking a stand."

Another ad, funded by the same group, tells voters in New Mexico's 3rd District, "You know what it's time for? It's time the big corporations stop price gouging hardworking New Mexicans, raising the prices at the gas pump. That's why Representative Teresa Leger Fernandez is taking a stand."