Mertz Gets Ready To Battle Taylor For A U.S. House Seat

Karl Mertz started taping television ads to sell his campaign for Congress. The republican also running full page ads in area newspapers. "And I just bought some time on a couple of hundred thousand watt radio stations to run through Monday for my biographical spot," the fourth district congressional candidate said. "And I'm meeting with a couple of other radio groups tomorrow and on Monday to do the same thing."

Analysts believe Mertz faces an uphill battle in his quest to unseat Gene Taylor. Mertz disagrees. "I'm going to do what it takes in terms of seed money to give people a real choice in November," said Mertz.

The republican is getting virtually no help from his own party.

The Mississippi Republican Party is headed up by Jim Herring. "Our state party puts most of our resources where we think we can be most effective," Herring said. "In this case, most of our efforts are going into the Pickering campaign."

Because of redistricting, Chip Pickering faces Ronnie Shows in a third district race featuring two incumbents. Before a lunch talk with the Gulfport Rotary Club, Herring said getting Pickering elected was the GOP's top priority.

The chairman then admitted that Mertz may not be the right GOP candidate in the fourth district to defeat Taylor. "In this particular case, we haven't been very active in the Mertz campaign," said Herring. "But we certainly support his candidacy."

Mertz believes the republican party will eventually come into his corner. "Once they see those ads and once they see the several thousand dollars worth of TV and radio spots that I've cut, I'll get money either from the state party or from the national party," said Mertz.