Democrat Tony Sanchez said again Monday that Republican Gov. Rick Perry is attacking him on television because they are tied in the governor's race.

Last week Perry began running a TV commercial that links Sanchez's now-defunct Tesoro Savings and Loan in Laredo to drug money laundering. Sanchez has said he and the thrift did nothing wrong when suspected drug dealers used Tesoro to launder $25 million in 1983 and 1984.

"I think he's panicked. I think he's extremely worried, and he should be," Sanchez told supporters in Austin. Sanchez has said his private polls show the two candidates are tied.

But independent polls released earlier this summer have shown Perry with the advantage.

"Every independent public poll has shown Governor Perry with a double-digit lead. We are running the ad linking Tony Sanchez's savings and loan to drug money laundering because it's true and because it helps respond to the 12 false negative attack ads he's run against Governor Perry," said Sullivan, a spokesman for the governor.

The Sanchez campaign also handed out state campaign finance reports showing that former U.S. Attorney Dan Hedges, who last week vouched for the accuracy of Perry's new commercial, has contributed $750 to Perry since 1997.

The same day Hedges spoke out on behalf of Perry's campaign ad, his wife, appeals court Justice Adele Hedges, interviewed with Perry's state office for a promotion on the regional court. Sanchez has called for an investigation into the matter.

In Houston, Perry called the accusations that he may have traded political favors for the meeting "a little over the top."

"People get interviewed by my office on a regular basis," Perry said.

As for Hedges being a financial backer of Perry, Sullivan said it shouldn't be surprising that a supporter of Perry would speak out publicly on his behalf in the campaign.