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Governor Race, Senate Race

Thursday, October 30, 2008 5:30 PM

All ad summary pages are available to subscribers only.

Idaho Senate (tip sheet)

• Former Republican Gov. Jim Risch touts his executive record and his plans for turning the economy around in "Jim Risch Just Gets Things Done."

Kentucky Senate (tip sheet)

• In a new ad from Bruce Lunsford (D), a Kentucky man chases down Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) with "Hound Dogs" as the incumbent tries "running away from his record."

• And in "Hillary," Lunsford receives the endorsement of the New York senator.

Maine Senate (tip sheet)

• Republican Susan Collins, seeking to defend her seat, cites statistics to show she's been more effective in Washington than her opponent, Rep. Tom Allen (D), in "Scorecard."

• Allen goes after Collins for standing with Bush on major issues in "Right," while Maine voters discuss why they are switching their vote from Collins this year in "Voting Record."

Continue reading The Week In Political Ads

Governor Race, Senate Race, Television Ad, Third-Party Ad

Thursday, October 23, 2008 5:30 PM

All ad summary pages are available to subscribers only.

Idaho Senate (tip sheet)

• Democrat Larry LaRocco criticizes Republican Jim Risch for supporting privatization of Social Security in "Divert."

Louisiana Senate (tip sheet)

• The National Republican Senatorial Committee alleges that incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu received campaign donations from clients of disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff the "Same Day" she did them political favors.

• Gov. Bobby Jindal gives fellow Republican John Kennedy the "Governor's Endorsement."

Maine Senate (tip sheet)

• In "Too Close," Democratic Rep. Tom Allen reassures Maine voters that together they can change the direction of the country away from the policies of President Bush.

Mississippi Senate (tip sheet)

• GOP Incumbent Roger Wicker and his wife, Gayle, discuss the "Mississippi Values" they share with voters.

• The NRSC criticizes Democratic challenger Ronnie Musgrove for saying that a bad economy will help him win in "Help."

• Musgrove defends his record on abortion, guns and gay marriage in "Musgrove Sets The Record Straight."

• And in "Lots Of Times," the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee slams Wicker for voting to raise his own pay while voting against increases to the minimum wage and other programs.

Continue reading The Week In Political Ads

Governor Race, Radio Ad, Senate Race, Television Ad

Friday, October 17, 2008 11:30 AM

All ad summary pages are available to subscribers only.

Louisiana Senate (tip sheet)

• Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) boasts of the "solutions" she has helped legislate for the Pelican State -- bringing defense jobs and voting to keep "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Maine Senate (tip sheet)

• Rep. Tom Allen (D) gets the endorsement of former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell in "Courage."

Mississippi Senate (tip sheet)

• Republican incumbent Roger Wicker's new spot, "Who Is Buying Ronnie Musgrove?" suggests that his Democratic challenger is being influenced by left-wing organizations.

•Meanwhile, the National Republican Senatorial Committee blames Musgrove for the state's deficit and loss of jobs in "Clip."

New Hampshire Senate (tip sheet)

• The NRSC asserts that former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen (D) won't deliver on her promises to cut spending.

• The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee claims GOP incumbent Sen. John Sununu has "followed" in President Bush's footsteps for the last eight years, helping cause the financial crisis.

North Carolina Senate (tip sheet)

• Democrat Kay Hagan says Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) put tax cuts for Big Oil ahead of "Lowering" taxes for working families.

Oregon Senate (tip sheet)

• "Senior Senator" Ron Wyden (D) encourages Oregonians to support Jeff Merkley.

• And in another spot, Merkley says veterans "deserve better" health care.

• In "More Tax Merkley," the NRSC attacks the Democrat on his tax record.

Virginia Senate (tip sheet)

• In "A Fresh Approach," former Gov. Mark Warner (D) says he will put the country's interests ahead of partisanship in Washington if elected.

North Carolina governor (tip sheet)

• In "Crisis," the Republican Governors Association asserts that Democratic Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue's record of raising taxes and hindering job growth makes her ill-equipped to handle North Carolina's economic crisis.

• The Perdue camp slams Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory (R) for a record that "Floating" claims has helped North Carolina become a landfill for places like New York and New Jersey.

Washington governor (tip sheet)

• In "Thousands," Dino Rossi (R) assures voters he has the experience cutting spending that would prepare him to do the same as governor.

• A mother expresses her worries about Democratic incumbent Christine Gregoire's record on protecting children from sex offenders in this attack spot by the RGA.

• Several law enforcement representatives show their support for Gregoire in "Law Enforcement," responding to the RGA's attack spot.

Barack Obama, John McCain, Senate Race, Television Ad

Thursday, October 16, 2008 5:00 PM

Updated Friday, Oct. 16, 2008.

The Republican Party's national committees are pulling ads in key presidential battleground states and in a hotly contested Senate race, in just the latest sign of the GOP's sinking electoral fortunes.

The Republican National Senatorial Committee is pulling its ads from the Louisiana Senate race, where state Treasurer John Kennedy's challenge to two-term Sen. Mary Landrieu is considered the GOP's best shot to unseat an incumbent Democrat.

NRSC communications director Rebecca Fisher declined to discuss the timing of the pullout. But Leonardo Alcivar, the Kennedy campaign's communications director, was blunt in his assessment of the Republican committee's decision to withdraw.

"They need to help fund incumbents who two weeks ago were not vulnerable and now are," he said. "It’s a reflection of the national political landscape and not the local political landscape."

Alcivar added that his campaign has already benefited from the NRSC's support, and that Kennedy has the resources to compete with and win against Landrieu in the home stretch.

The most recent poll in that race, a Rasmussen Reports survey released Sept. 27, showed Landrieu with a commanding 54-41 lead over the Republican challenger.

Hannah August, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said the Republican committee's retreat reaffirmed the DSCC's confidence heading toward Election Day.

"They essentially gave up their only alleged seat to pick up," she said. "I think they've realized that Mary Landrieu is in a strong position to win re-election. We've been saying it all along."

Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee will stop running presidential ads in Maine and Wisconsin, AP reported Wednesday. The move comes as John McCain's poll numbers continue to slide in the Upper Midwest: Barack Obama leads the Arizona senator by 17 percentage points in Wisconsin, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday. The committee's withdrawal from Wisconsin comes on the heels of McCain's decision to essentially concede defeat in Michigan two weeks ago.

Maine is one of two states that awards its electoral votes along congressional district lines, and McCain hopes to pick off a vote in the relatively conservative 2nd District. Despite the committee's move, the McCain campaign isn't writing the Pine Tree State off yet: Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin rallied supporters in Bangor this morning and hinted at her campaign's desire to nab one of the state's electoral votes.

UPDATE: The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder reports that the NRSC is also planning to pull its ad dollars from the Colorado Senate race by next week. Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colo., is leading Republican Bob Shaffer 54-40 in an Quinnipiac University poll released Oct. 14.

Domestic Issues, Economy, Senate Race, Television Ad, Third-Party Ad

Wednesday, October 15, 2008 5:00 PM

For some candidates and special interest groups, the $700 billion bailout package is the gift that keeps on giving.

Congress passed the legislation two weeks ago, but the bailout continues to be a hot topic in campaign advertisements, both for special interest groups hoping to influence the presidential race and for downballot candidates. The bailout debate was unpredictable: Votes did not split neatly along party lines, and accusations continue to fly over who's to blame for the subprime disaster. It is perhaps fitting, then, that the recent slew of bailout-related ads range from the conventional -- an attack on Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd's "sweetheart mortgage" -- to the more creative -- a giant banker appearing to urinate on tiny voters.

Former Rep. Jim Slattery has rolled out two spirited ads in his uphill effort to unseat Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas. Roberts voted against the bailout bill, but that hasn't stopped Slattery from trying to link the mortgage crisis to his opponent. Last week, the Democrat released the TV spot "Hosed," which features a giant "rich executive" standing over angry, Lilliputian protesters.

"While they're getting bailouts or gushing record profits, the rest of us are just getting hosed," the narrator says. All of a sudden, a stream of yellow liquid begins pouring down on the tiny people as the giant executive laughs. More fluid rains down before a wider shot reveals that the executive is pouring gasoline on the crowd, and not, well, anything else.

Continue reading Bailout Still Ad Fodder For Candidates, Interest Groups

Defense, John McCain, Senate Race, Television Ad, Third-Party Ad

Thursday, October 9, 2008 3:24 PM

A veterans advocacy group launched a $350,000 television ad buy against John McCain in Virginia on Wednesday, savaging the senator for skipping a GI Bill vote in favor of a campaign fundraiser.

"Vet to vet, Senator McCain, when you put money from your rich friends ahead of vets like me, how is that 'Country First?'" asks Jason Bensley, an Iraq War veteran, in "GI Bill" (subscription).

Jon Soltz, chairman of VoteVets.org, explained that the group is running the ad in the Old Dominion because of the large number of veterans in the state and because Virginia Sen. Jim Webb (D) sponsored the bill. The ad is slated to air for just under two weeks.

In the ad, Bensley notes that McCain himself received a free education from the Naval Academy. The service academies are not affected by the GI Bill. But Soltz said that's the point: The government prioritizes free tuition "just for the elite officers, and that’s not appropriate."

VoteVets.org has targeted McCain for his failure to support the new GI Bill before. Soltz and retired Gen. Wesley Clark wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times in April encouraging McCain to support the bill, and the group ran a TV spot in the D.C. media market on the eve of the vote calling on McCain to support the legislation.

The new ad is part of a larger, $1.3 million campaign VoteVets.org announced Thursday. The group is also spending $200,000 to run a TV spot targeting Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., for voting against a bill that would have provided better body armor for troops.

Senate Race

Wednesday, October 8, 2008 6:00 PM

All ad summary and tip sheet pages are available to subscribers only.

Alaska Senate (tip sheet)

• The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee alleges Sen. Ted Stevens (R) did political favors for his brother-in-law in "Maverick?"

Louisiana Senate (tip sheet)

• In "Bermuda," Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) attacks John Kennedy (R) for his ties to an insurance company.

Maine Senate (tip sheet)

• Democratic Rep. Tom Allen focuses on the economy in two new ads, calling for a "New Direction" from leaders in Washington and slamming the Bush administration's fiscal policies in "What We Need."

• The DSCC goes after Republican incumbent Susan Collins in "Know," saying she is just more of the same when the country needs change.

Mississippi Senate (tip sheet)

• The National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee assails former Democratic Gov. Ronnie Musgrove's record in "Colorful," blaming him for job losses and linking him to attorney Dickie Scruggs, who has been convicted of bribery.

New Hampshire Senate (tip sheet)

• Referencing the financial crisis, the announcer in "Serious" contends that former Democratic Gov. Jeanne Shaheen's record proves she's qualified to improve New Hampshire's economy.

• "Common Sense," from incumbent Sen. John Sununu (R), blames Shaheen for not anticipating the financial crisis and claims Sununu fought years ago for more regulation.

• The NRSC attacks Shaheen's record on education in "Apple" and her ability to handle taxpayers' money in "Promotion."

• In "Spending Scheme," the U.S. Chamber of Commerce slams Shaheen's spending record and calls her a "taxing machine."

New Mexico Senate (tip sheet)

• The economic positions of Reps. Steve Pearce (R) and Tom Udall (D) are contrasted in Udall's "Two Views," with the announcer claiming Pearce falls in line with President Bush.

Oregon Senate (tip sheet)

• The NRSC attacks Jeff Merkley (D) over deficit spending in "Bad Bet."

• Merkley rips Sen. Gordon Smith (R) in "Breaks" for supporting the bailout plan and the Bush tax cuts.

• Smith, meanwhile, recalls reaching across the aisle to work with Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., on hate-crimes legislation in "Matthew."

South Dakota Senate (tip sheet)

• Democratic incumbent Tim Johnson's daughter, "Kelsey," vouches for her father's character in one recent spot. Meanwhile, in "Ethanol," two South Dakota farmers claim that Johnson's "clout" in the Senate has helped boost ethanol production, while a local leader hails Johnson's role in preventing an Air Force base closure in "Ellsworth."

• Republican challenger and state representative Joel Dykstra has gone on an ad spree, as well, criticizing Johnson for failing to regulate financial firms as a member of the Senate Banking Committee in one ad, providing a quick biographical summary in another spot, and enlisting his wife, Vicki, to voice his change message in another.

Washington governor (tip sheet)

Dino Rossi (R) argues that Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) is in "Denial" about the state's budget, contrasting her assertion that there is a surplus with media reports suggesting the opposite.

Economy, House Race, Senate Race, Television Ad, Third-Party Ad

Monday, October 6, 2008 6:00 PM

The unpopular but necessary bailout package has been passed, and it will now recede into the background for the rest of the campaign season, right?

Not a chance.

The presidential candidates may be turning to new lines of attack, but the bailout bill is still red meat for plenty of congressional challengers, who are are spinning the $700 billion legislation in TV spots across the country.

John Gard, the GOP challenger in Wisconsin's 8th Congressional District, has been running an ad decrying the bailout plan since Sept. 26, several days before the House voted initially to reject the legislation. In the spot, Gard attacks his opponent, Rep. Steve Kagen, for supporting tax increases and then criticizes the bailout, saying that "Washington's got it wrong again" and implying that Kagen is part of that equation. Even though Kagen twice voted against the financial rescue bill, Gard campaign strategist Mark Graul credits his candidate with coming out against the proposal early on.

Other candidates and committees are sticking by the sports maxim that the best defense is a good offense. In Oregon, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is doing its best to spread the blame for the politically volatile legislation. Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., voted for the bailout, while his Democratic opponent Jeff Merkley publicly opposed it; but on Thursday the NRSC began running "Bad Bet" (subscription), which tries to link Merkley to the bailout he opposed. The TV spot alleges that Merkley presided over deficit spending as speaker of the state House of Representatives. The ad continues by saying that, "just like Washington, Merkley borrows the money and mortgages our future."

"Jeff Merkley can come out against the bailout package all he wants, but it won’t change his record," said Mary-Sarah Kinner, NRSC deputy press secretary, in an e-mail. "We believe it’s important to warn voters against sending Merkley’s reckless economic record to Washington to fix the problems we currently have -- he will only make things worse."

For his part, Merkley fired back today with an ad linking Smith to the bailout and the Bush tax cuts.

Rep. Jim Marshall of Georgia's 8th district, is another incumbent with the bailout albatross around his neck. The Georgia Democrat, however, hopes to parlay his unpopular vote into an example of his ability to make tough choices in the face of criticism. In a new ad, "Economic Rescue" (subscription), he explains to his constituents why he voted in support of the bill.

"I approve this message because you elected me to do what's best for America," Marshall explains from his perch on the edge of a desk. "Not what's easy."

Doug Moore, a Marshall campaign spokesman, said the ad was designed to be "straight" with constituents who are unhappy with the congressman's support of the bill.

“He’s not 40 years old, and this is not what he wants to do with the rest of his life," Moore said. "I know it sounds trite, but even though it might cost him personally, he’s going to do the right thing.”

Governor Race, Senate Race, Television Ad

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 4:31 PM

All ad summary and tip sheet pages are available to subscribers only.

Louisiana Senate (tip sheet)

• Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu hits back against what she says are misrepresentations of her record on immigration in "Garbage."

Maine Senate (tip sheet)

• The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee says GOP incumbent Susan Collins will not bring needed change to Washington or Maine in "Know."

• Democratic challenger Tom Allen urges voters to learn about the "Big Differences" between him and Collins. Meanwhile, "Worst" links Collins to the Bush administration's economic policies, which Allen blames for the economic crisis.

• Collins fired back with "A Time For Bipartisanship," which criticizes Allen for running attack ads when leaders should be trying to work across the aisle to pass the bailout package.

New Mexico Senate (tip sheet)

• Rep. Tom Udall touts the recently passed G.I. Bill and explains how it will help veterans in "Places."

• Citing Udall's voting record in Congress on issues like energy and the war, Rep. Steve Pearce contends he's "breathtakingly" liberal.

Oregon Senate (tip sheet)

• The DSCC attacks Gordon Smith for his support of Social Security privatization in "Insecure."

• In "19th Hole," the DSCC attacks Smith over his expensive golf clubs and support for privatizing Social Security.

• The NRSC attack ad "Trees" hits Jeff Merkley over his votes on state taxes.

Missouri governor (tip sheet)

• Democrat Jay Nixon says GOP Rep. Kenny Hulshof's policies sent manufacturing jobs "Overseas."

North Carolina governor (tip sheet)

• The Alliance For North Carolina charges that Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory (R) has opted to "Raise" salaries of politicians in lieu of law enforcement, resulting in high crime.

Washington governor (tip sheet)

• In two related ads, Democratic incumbent Christine Gregoire shows two Washington residents criticizing Republican challenger Dino Rossi for not supporting stem cell research: "Real People: Jim Lortz" and "Real People: Jackson."

Governor Race, Senate Race, Television Ad

Tuesday, September 23, 2008 3:46 PM

All ad summary and tip sheet pages are available to subscribers only.

Colorado Senate (tip sheet)

• The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee criticizes former Rep. Bob Schaffer (R) for his ties to the petroleum industry in "Silent Bob."

• Freedom's Watch, a conservative foreign policy group, attacks Democratic Rep. Mark Udall for his onetime support of a bill that would have created a "Department of Peace."

• Meanwhile, in "Record," the National Republican Senatorial Committee hits Udall for his positions on taxes, energy and defense.

• The Club for Growth also gets in on the action against Udall, accusing him in "Property" of making it "easier for government to take private property" from Colorado citizens.

Louisiana Senate (tip sheet)

• Republican challenger John Kennedy alleges that Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) swapped political favors for campaign donations with a lobbying firm in "Fundraiser."

• In "Pennies," Landrieu attacks Kennedy over a report showing he cost Louisiana $37 million in potential revenue as treasurer.

Maine Senate (tip sheet)

• Democratic Rep. Tom Allen touts his accomplishments as a congressman in "Effective."

• Meanwhile, in "Jobs For Maine," GOP incumbent Susan Collins presents her successes in bringing good jobs to the state.

New Hampshire Senate (tip sheet)

• The Club For Growth slams former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen's record, criticizing the Democratic challenger's support of new taxes and opposition to lawsuit reform in "Add Up."

• The NRSC also released a spot criticizing Shaheen's record on taxes.

New Mexico Senate (tip sheet)

• Democratic Rep. Tom Udall's attack ad depicts Rep. Steve Pearce (R) as "Polly" the parrot, simply repeating what Big Oil says.

North Carolina Senate (tip sheet)

• In "Game," the DSCC tries to discredit an attack ad run by GOP incumbent Elizabeth Dole against state Sen. Kay Hagan (D) over energy prices, arguing that Dole is the one really tied to Big Oil. "Gas Station" is another DSCC energy attack on Dole.

• The NRSC uses a Dr. Seuss-style cartoon to criticize Hagan on tax hikes in "Pedal."

South Dakota Senate (tip sheet)

• Republican challenger Joel Dykstra released his debut TV ad, in which he urges his opponent to engage in a more robust public debate about the issues.

• Democratic incumbent Tim Johnson presents his record on "Energy" issues and his plan to achieve energy independence in a new spot.

North Carolina governor (tip sheet)

• Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory's sister aims to discredit an attack ad that criticized the Republican's position supporting stem-cell research. She contends McCrory does "The Right Thing."

Senate Race, Television Ad, Third-Party Ad

Friday, September 12, 2008 2:56 PM

As the Democratic and Republican parties survey the battleground for the presidential election, the parties' Senate committees are doing the same -- and some of the same states are in focus. Colorado and Minnesota are featured in both National Journal's swing state series and Hotline's race rankings of Senate seats likely to switch party control; Virginia, where both Barack Obama and John McCain campaigned this week, is Hotline's No. 1.

Energy and the economy, mainstays of the presidential battle, are hot topics in several Senate races. Another similarity between the presidential and senatorial battles is the negative tone -- the vast majority of both Senate committees' ads have gone on the attack.

Continue reading Senate Committees Join The Party

Governor Race, Senate Race, Television Ad

Monday, September 8, 2008 5:00 PM

Maine Senate (tip sheet)

• Mainers discuss how gasoline prices are affecting business, and Rep. Tom Allen (D) presents his energy plan in "Must."

• "Diabetes" credits Republican incumbent Susan Collins with increased funding for diabetes research.

New Hampshire Senate (tip sheet)

• In the first ad of his re-election bid, Sen. John Sununu (R) asserts he is "quicker" than his opponents, and, despite being the youngest senator in Congress, is the best candidate for the state.

• Former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen charges in "Dig" that Sununu is simply continuing President Bush's policies.

New Mexico Senate (tip sheet)

• Rep. Tom Udall (D) calls for action on the energy crisis in "Stop Talking."

North Carolina Senate (tip sheet)

• In "Firepower, Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) aims to refute attack ads from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee calling her an ineffective senator, and in "Arf," the Dole camp labels opponent Kay Hagan (D) as "Fibber Kay."

Missouri Governor (tip sheet)

• State Attorney General Jay Nixon (D) attacks Rep. Kenny Hulshof (R) over the economy in "Jobs" and "Border States."

Senate Race, Television Ad, Third-Party Ad

Monday, August 25, 2008 7:12 PM

All ad summaries are viewable without a subscription. For the next two weeks, during the Democratic and Republican national conventions, everything published on NationalJournal.com is free.

Colorado Senate (tip sheet)

• In "Choked," Mark Udall (D) says solving the energy crisis through a comprehensive plan is key to helping families stay afloat financially.

• The American Future Fund criticizes the "Gang of 10" proposal addressing oil prices in "Crippling" and chides Udall for supporting it.

Kentucky Senate (tip sheet)

• Businessman Bruce Lunsford (D) claims that GOP incumbent Mitch McConnell and his "Big Oil buddies" are reaping huge financial rewards while Kentuckians struggle to get by in "How Are You Doing?"

Continue reading The Week In Political Ads

John McCain, Senate Race, Television Ad, Third-Party Ad

Wednesday, August 20, 2008 1:35 PM

MoveOn.org unveiled its first Senate ad of this election cycle on Tuesday, targeting Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., as well as John McCain, for their ties to Big Oil. The half-million dollar buy begins airing throughout North Carolina today.

In "Pocket" (subscription), MoveOn echoes an ad Barack Obama released under the same title at the beginning of August that attacks McCain for his connections to oil companies. In MoveOn's ad, an announcer argues that, instead of working toward clean energy and independence from foreign oil, "John McCain and Elizabeth Dole allowed big oil companies to keep $13.5 billion dollars in tax breaks, while taking huge contributions from Big Oil."

Dole is facing an increasingly close battle with state Sen. Kay Hagan (D) to retain her seat. The latest polling shows Hagan has cut a double-digit lead to 6 percentage points. Perhaps this is evidence that the incessant attacks the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has thrown at Dole -- most notably for her low rating (subscription) in a recent congressional effectiveness study -- are starting to resonate with North Carolina voters.

Continue reading MoveOn.org Berates N.C.'s Dole In First '08 Senate Ad

Senate Race, Television Ad

Monday, August 18, 2008 5:00 PM

All ad summary pages are available to subscribers only.

Colorado Senate (tip sheet)

• Rep. Mark Udall (D) pushes for energy independence by investing in new technology and wind resources in "Line."

• In "Oil Resources," American Future Fund pressures Udall to vote for legislation that would allow for domestic oil production.

Idaho Senate (tip sheet)

• In his first ad of the general, "Bold New Leadership," Lt. Gov. Jim Risch (R) talks about his plan to address high gasoline prices.

Kentucky Senate (tip sheet)

• Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) released two new TV spots criticizing businessman Bruce Lunsford. "You Decide" juxtaposes the candidates' energy plans, hitting Lunsford for opposing offshore drilling and supporting higher energy taxes, while in "Ever Wonder?" McConnell's camp uses footage from one of Lunsford's own ads against him.

• Lunsford released a sharp ad of his own, "McCONned," attempting to discredit McConnell's negative ads and going after his record on helping big oil companies.

Continue reading The Week In Political Ads

Senate Race, Television Ad

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 5:22 PM

As if Al Franken didn't have his hands full already with incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman (R) in Minnesota, he recently came under fire in a withering attack ad from fellow DFL member Priscilla Lord Faris. "It seems clear that his history of pornography, degrading women and minorities, and his questionable financial transactions will continue to be the focus of blistering Republican attack ads," she says in her own blistering attack ad (subscription).

The spot, which hit TV last week, ran for several days before Lord Faris decided to drop it. "I just didn't like the tone," she said in an interview today. "... I'm looking to change the tone to be a little more positive." She added, "In the meantime, Coleman takes it. I was pretty disappointed by that because I had pulled it."

Lord Faris was referring to Coleman's newest TV ad (subscription), which uses a clip of hers to criticize Franken as unsuitable for office -- "in the words of other Democrats."

Continue reading For Franken, Attacks Come From Both Sides Now

Domestic Issues, Senate Race, Television Ad

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 1:05 PM

A political storm is once again brewing around a piece of legislation that caused controversy in 2006 and 2007. The Employee Free Choice Act, sponsored by Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., is intended to make it easier for employees to form and/or join unions. Critics claim, however, that by doing away with mandatory secret elections when employees are deciding whether or not to unionize, the law would leave them vulnerable to intimidation and coercion.

Two outside groups -- the Employee Freedom Action Committee and the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace -- are running TV ads targeting Democratic candidates who support the legislation. Minnesota Senate candidate Al Franken was already singled out by the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace in an ad (subscription) featuring actor Vincent Curatola of "The Sopranos." The group launched a similar spot (subscription) last week directed at Maine Senate candidate Tom Allen. Both spots suggest that supporting the Employee Free Choice Act is synonymous with cozying up to mob bosses, labeling incumbent GOP Sens. Norm Coleman and Susan Collins as "heroes" for opposing the legislation.

The Employee Freedom Action Fund is running ads against seven Democratic Senate candidates -- Bruce Lunsford of Kentucky, Ronnie Musgrove of Mississippi, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Mark Udall of Colorado, Franken and Allen -- as well as one sitting senator, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.

The spot (subscription) begins by portraying the right to private voting as one of the key "democratic principles" upon which America was built. But "some union bosses and their politician friends want to effectively do away with privacy when it comes to voting on joining a union," an announcer proclaims. A man is shown peeking into a ballot box where another man is voting, and the announcer goes on to argue that the lack of a private ballot means that "employees could be exposed to intimidation at work and at home."

The Employee Free Choice Act passed in the House in 2007 but was filibustered by Senate Republicans. If Democrats capture several Senate seats and the White House in November (Barack Obama co-sponsored the Senate version last year), the bill will have its best chance yet of actually being signed into law.

Radio Ad, Senate Race, Television Ad

Monday, August 11, 2008 3:48 PM

All ad summary pages are available to subscribers only.

Colorado Senate (tip sheet)

• In "Waste," Club For Growth criticizes Rep. Mark Udall (D) for what it contends is wasteful spending in Congress.

Idaho Senate (tip sheet)

• In his debut ad for the general election, "Change," former Rep. Larry LaRocco (D) says he has spent time talking to Idahoans and will take their messages to Washington.

Louisiana Senate (tip sheet)

• State Treasurer John Kennedy (R) goes on air with his first TV ad, "Brown Bag," a playful spot that pokes fun at him for being "cheap" but says he has saved or earned Louisiana taxpayers more than $1 billion.

• Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) goes on offense with "Spinning," in which a series of campaign buttons is used to depict Kennedy, formerly a Democrat, as "confused" about his political beliefs.

Continue reading The Week In Political Ads

Senate Race, Television Ad

Thursday, August 7, 2008 5:00 PM

As Republican candidates run as far as possible this year from President Bush and his disapproval ratings, they'll need to watch out for a second pitfall opening up in the form of recently indicted Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens. The six-term senator and his array of legal troubles are already popping up in races far outside Alaska, threatening to further tarnish the GOP brand by reminding voters nationwide of the "culture of corruption" Democrats campaigned against so successfully in 2006.

In Minnesota, Democrat Al Franken, who is running to unseat incumbent Republican Norm Coleman, last week released a radio spot (subscription) tying his opponent to Stevens and questionable corporate donations. "Coleman took $30,000 in contributions from Senator Stevens," the ad says, "and he's also taken thousands more from the Alaskan oil executives convicted of bribing public officials. And then Coleman refused to return it."

Coleman's campaign eventually announced it was donating all of the $20,000 it received from Stevens' Northern Lights PAC during this cycle to cancer research.

Continue reading Stevens Scandal Goes National

Senate Race, Television Ad

Tuesday, August 5, 2008 4:15 PM

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is going after GOP incumbents in the North Carolina and Oregon Senate races in two new releases.

Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., running against state Sen. Kay Hagan (D) for her second term, is the target of "Photos" (subscription), launched Aug. 1, in which the DSCC chastises the Republican for ranking near the bottom of the Senate in Congress.org's congressional power ratings. "She can't fix gas prices from 93rd place -- or create jobs," scoffs an announcer. "And she sure hasn't fixed immigration from 93rd place."

In "Remember" (subscription), the DSCC joins in on the oil prices blame game, on Oregon's airwaves. "The oil and gas industry has given Gordon Smith's campaign nearly $300,000," an announcer says. "And Republican Senator Gordon Smith has voted to give price-gouging oil companies billions in tax breaks."

Continue reading DSCC Targets Dole, Smith

Governor Race, Radio Ad, Senate Race, Television Ad

Monday, August 4, 2008 1:00 PM

Editor's note: Every Monday, we will post a roundup of select ads from downballot races. All ad summary pages are available to subscribers only.

Colorado Senate (tip sheet):

• In "Facts," Rep. Mark Udall (D) aims to refute attacks on his voting record as it pertains to taxes.

• In the radio ad "High," American Future Fund blames Udall for high gasoline prices and urges him to vote for legislation that would allow domestic oil production.

Kentucky Senate (tip sheet):

• Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) continues to blame Democratic challenger Bruce Lunsford for Kentucky's high gasoline prices in "Thanks Bruce."

• In his first ad of the general election, "Dishonest," Lunsford dismisses McConnell's attack ads on the gasoline tax and accuses him of trying to fool voters.

Continue reading The Week In Political Ads

Senate Race, Television Ad

Tuesday, July 29, 2008 3:05 PM

Once considered one of the top contests to watch this cycle, the Maine Senate race between Republican incumbent Susan Collins and Democratic challenger Tom Allen is increasingly looking like a safe bet for the GOP. Though polls have narrowed slightly since the spring, Collins has consistently maintained a double-digit advantage.

Still, Collins is being careful not to identify herself with the Republican Party. In the first TV ads to go on air in the contest, she steers clear of mentioning her party ID, focusing instead on what she has accomplished for Maine in her 12-year Senate career.

Continue reading Collins Courts The Center In Maine

Senate Race, Television Ad

Monday, July 28, 2008 5:25 PM

If Minnesotans are half as nice as stereotype dictates, they can't be much pleased with the ongoing Senate contest between incumbent Republican Norm Coleman and his main Democratic challenger, Al Franken. Both candidates' advertising got so acrimonious last week that Franken released a spot defending himself against an earlier Coleman ad that bashed him for "tasteless, sexist jokes and writing all that juicy porn."

"Look, I'm not proud of every joke I've ever told," Franken admits in his newest spot (subscription), released Thursday night. "But I know there's a difference between what you say as a comedian and what you do as a U.S. senator." He then pivots to Coleman's record as senator, criticizing him for supporting President Bush on the Iraq war and for taking "millions from big oil and special interests." (The Center for Responsive Politics, a group that tracks campaign donations, reports that Coleman has received some $3.1 million from political action committees.)

Continue reading 'Sexist Jokes' And 'Juicy Porn' Enter Minnesota Ad War

Senate Race, Television Ad

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 4:55 PM

Oregon Senate candidates Gordon Smith (R) and Jeff Merkley (D) are going after each other's tax records, as the incumbent Smith seeks to portray his opponent as a typical tax-and-spend liberal and Merkley gets more help from state and national Democrats in portraying Smith as a George Bush Republican.

Smith went on the offensive last week, launching twin TV ads lambasting Merkley for raising taxes "44 times" while serving in Oregon's legislature. Merkley "voted for the two largest tax increases in Oregon history," an announcer charges in "44 Times" (subscription), adding that there is barely a single demographic group that has been spared from the increased fiscal burden he helped to create. "Every Night" (subscription) uses video footage of Merkley against the candidate. He is shown telling an audience, "I advocate for tax hikes every night in living rooms across Oregon." "Jeff Merkley isn't kidding," an announcer quips. He's "voted for higher taxes on seniors, farms and income."

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee came to Merkley's aid today, as he still lags far behind Gordon in fundraising revenue and has yet to run a general election ad of his own. "It didn't take long for Gordon Smith to launch misleading negative ads," an announcer remarks in the DSCC's "Long" (subscription).

Continue reading Tax Attacks In Oregon

Senate Race, Television Ad

Friday, July 18, 2008 2:25 PM

Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu is considered Republicans' best, and perhaps only, target for switching a Senate seat from the blue to the red column in November. Her opponent, state Treasurer John Kennedy, ran for Republican David Vitter's seat in 2004 as a Democrat but switched parties in 2006.

The two appear set for a fierce contest and both reported healthy fundraising totals in June, although Landrieu maintains a cash advantage of about $5.5 million on hand to Kennedy's $2.7 million. She is also leading in early polling, though by about 5 or 6 points, certainly leaving Kennedy within striking distance.

Landrieu unveiled her first TV ad of the cycle Wednesday, previewing her strategy for the contest: highlight the tangible results she has achieved for the state over her two terms in Washington.

Continue reading Bayou Battle Begins

Domestic Issues, Senate Race, Television Ad

Thursday, July 17, 2008 12:49 PM

The race to replace retiring Virginia Sen. John Warner (R) is threatening to turn into a landslide for Mark Warner. Warner, who is not related to the current officeholder, boasts a vast cash advantage over Republican Jim Gilmore in a battle of former governors; the Democrat this week reported $5.1 million in cash on hand, compared with Gilmore’s $117,000. Warner is also dominating Gilmore in early polling; RealClearPolitics.com shows him up by an average of 27 points.

Warner tapped into his funds for his second ad blitz of the general election on Tuesday. His new TV spot, "Energy Plan" (subscription), lays out a multifaceted approach to reducing gasoline prices. The candidate presents America's reliance on foreign oil as a security threat as well as an energy problem, pointing out that "America [is] spending over $1 billion a day on oil from countries who don’t like us." And he chastises a government that "does nothing" while gasoline is “headed to $5 a gallon."

Continue reading Warner's New Dominion

Senate Race, Television Ad

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 1:17 PM

New Mexico’s Senate candidates weighed in over the weekend on who’s to blame for soaring gasoline prices. Rep. Steve Pearce (R) argued the solution lies with domestic drilling. Democratic Rep. Tom Udall’s finger was pointed at oil speculators, a theme he carried over into an ad released today. "Right Now" (subscription) outlines Udall’s plan to lower prices right away.

"Is there anything we can do right now to lower gas prices?" Udall asks in the ad, which shows him at a gas station. "First, stop hedge fund speculators from driving up the price of oil." He adds that he would encourage oil companies to build clean refineries in the U.S., or, if they don't agree to do that, "take away their tax breaks.”

Senate Race, Television Ad

Friday, July 11, 2008 10:30 AM

The Democratic Party of Oregon has sparked controversy with two new TV ads it is running; while ostensibly they are issue ads -- one about veterans and one about protecting children -- they also happen to feature the party's nominee for Senate, House Speaker Jeff Merkley, speaking directly into the camera.

In "Respect " (subscription), Merkley criticizes Congress for failing to take care of America's veterans. "Our troops have done everything we've asked with distinction. We need to start giving them the respect they deserve," he declares. "Back To Basics" (subscription), meanwhile, goes even further by specifically emphasizing Merkley's legislative record. "I passed one of the toughest Internet predator laws in the country and supported new laws to keep track of sex offenders," he says.

Neither ad states that Merkley is a candidate for Senate or encourages viewers to vote for him in November. But his opponent, Republican Sen. Gordon Smith, claims that the spots clearly overstep the bounds of issue advertising. Smith's campaign filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday accusing the Merkley campaign, the Democratic Party and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (which is helping to pay for the ads) of conspiring to circumvent federal campaign finance laws.

Continue reading Smith Takes Issue With 'Issue Ads'

Senate Race

Wednesday, July 9, 2008 4:30 PM

This week, Minnesota TV viewers will see the men who played Johnny "Sack" Sacramoni of "The Sopranos" and Stuart Smalley of "Saturday Night Live" without tuning into either show; both currently appear in political ads in the state's Senate race.

Al Franken, the former "SNL" actor and front-running Democratic candidate, today began airing a TV ad (subscription) in which he blames legislators-turned-lobbyists for high gas prices and proposes a law to ban retired lawmakers from a second career in lobbying. "In Washington, they debate whether former members of Congress should wait one year or two years before they can become registered lobbyists," Franken says in the ad. "How about never?"

Continue reading Battle Of The TV Stars

Senate Race, Television Ad

Tuesday, July 8, 2008 1:20 PM

After releasing several ads touting his support among Democrats -- even going so far as to cite ties to Barack Obama in one (subscription) -- Republican Sen. Gordon Smith of Oregon released a more typically conservative spot in late June. But the ad has set off a fierce back-and-forth between Smith and Democratic opponent Jeff Merkley over who would be a better voice for rural Oregon.

In "Home" (subscription), Smith, who was born in the eastern part of the state, tries to reach out to rural voters by praising their rustic way of life and vowing to protect Oregon's countryside. "I see Oregon’s natural beauty and more -- its people, jobs and a way of life," Gordon says. "I believe no part of our state should ever be left behind," he adds, playing on some voters' assumptions that rural communities often get overlooked in favor of urban centers.

"Some say lock the land up and the people out," Smith says. "No way. Because no one loves the land more than the farmers, loggers and ranchers who care for it." Finally, again aligning himself with rural Oregonians, he concludes: "What some call the rest of Oregon, we simply call home."

Continue reading At 'Home' With Rural Voters

Senate Race, Television Ad

Tuesday, July 8, 2008 11:20 AM

Rep. Tom Udall, D-N.M., forgoes the usual political debate over gasoline prices, the environment and a weakening economy to talk about an atypical election issue -- drunk driving -- in his latest ad. With New Mexico's portion of Interstate 40 in the background, Udall recounts an accident that occurred there on Christmas Eve 15 years ago, when a drunk driver killed a mother and her three children.

"I was attorney general back then, and I'd been fighting for tougher drunk driving laws," Udall says in "Tragedy " (subscription). "But it wasn't until this happened that we were finally able to get tough laws passed." He concludes by asserting, "It shouldn't take a tragedy for government to do what's right."

Udall, who is facing Rep. Steve Pearce (R) in the race for the seat of retiring Sen. Pete Domenici (R), has been able to have a continuous presence on the airwaves thanks to the $5 million he has raised so far. Pearce, on the other hand, hasn't released one general election ad yet, with his campaign funds drained after a contentious primary battle against Rep. Heather Wilson (R). Pearce won't release his fundraising totals until the July 15 deadline for submitting campaign finance reports, but he had less than $250,000 on hand as of mid-May.

Radio Ad, Senate Race

Monday, June 30, 2008 3:00 PM

A new radio ad chastising former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen (D) is the target of a complaint filed last week by the New Hampshire Democratic Party with the Federal Elections Commission. State Democrats allege that the nonprofit group Americans For Job Security has violated elections laws by disguising itself as an issues organization while running political advertisements on behalf of Shaheen's opponent in the Senate campaign, incumbent John Sununu (R). Americans For Job Security President Stephen DeMaura called the claims "completely baseless."

"Shaheen pledged to oppose any new taxes," an announcer says in "Taxes Hurt" (subscription), "but she broke her pledge and proposed millions in new taxes -- taxes that hurt New Hampshire, taxes that hurt families, taxes that have cost New Hampshire jobs." Another announcer urges viewers to call Shaheen and "tell her to oppose higher taxes on New Hampshire families."

This is the first race the group has engaged in for this election season, but it is looking at "multiple" contests throughout the country, DeMaura said.

Senate Race, Television Ad

Thursday, June 26, 2008 2:50 PM

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a former congressman appointed in December to fill the seat of retiring Sen. Trent Lott, faces a strong challenger in the race to secure the seat for the remainder of Lott's term -- until 2012. Former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove's run represents the best chance Mississippi Democrats have had in two decades to wrest a Senate seat from the GOP.

Wicker certainly does not seem to be taking anything for granted in his contest with Musgrove, establishing an early fundraising lead and putting it to work on the airwaves. He has already released three TV ads, all of which target the Gulf Coast region -- an area where he is seeking to build name recognition, since he represented the northeast corner of the state in the House.

His first two ads, "Friend Of The Coast" (subscription) and "Fighting For Our Coast" (subscription), highlight Wicker's efforts in securing "billions" of dollars for reconstruction after Hurricane Katrina decimated the area in 2005. Both ads cite a headline from the Biloxi Sun Herald claiming, "We already owe Roger Wicker a debt of thanks." "Fighting For Our Coast" shows Wicker talking with local leaders Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway and General Joe Spraggins about the after-effects of the storm. "You and Senator [Thad] Cochran did a fantastic job to get things pushed through for us," Spraggins proclaims.

Continue reading Magnolia State Matchup

Senate Race, Television Ad

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 2:45 PM

How desperate is Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., to disassociate himself from the GOP brand this year? His latest ad features words of praise from none other than Barack Obama.

In response to attack ads from an outside group, Smith released a new TV spot (subscription) Tuesday claiming that he and Obama worked together in the Senate to raise fuel standards for American cars.

"Who said Gordon Smith helped lead the fight for better gas mileage and a cleaner environment? Barack Obama," an announcer says. The spot goes on to claim that Smith and Obama together "broke through a 20-year deadlock to pass new laws which increase gas mileage for automobiles." It also cites Gov. Ted Kulongoski's (D) praise for the two senators' "bipartisan partnership on this critical issue." At the end of the ad, Smith appears onscreen to deliver the same tagline that has close his previous ads: "I’m Gordon Smith, and I approve working together across party lines and this ad."

Continue reading Obamacans For Senate

Senate Race, Television Ad

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 1:18 PM

That's the message Rep. Tom Udall has for Washington in a new ad, "Desert" (subscription), released today. The Democrat is up against GOP Rep. Steve Pearce in the race for the Senate seat of retiring Republican Pete Domenici.

Shown in an arid region of the state, Udall says in the 30-second spot that "people in Washington think New Mexico is nothing but desert. They don’t think about our people and our jobs." He goes on to recount the ways he has helped the state in Congress, including issues related to defense and energy research.

New polling suggests Pearce is facing a steeper and steeper climb against Udall after his narrow primary victory in May over rival Rep. Heather Wilson. After trailing by 16 points in May, the Republican now faces a gap nearly twice that.

Senate Race, Television Ad

Thursday, June 19, 2008 2:43 PM

President Bush, Arizona Sen. John McCain and a slew of other Republican lawmakers are calling to lift the ban on offshore drilling, but that's not the only place they're hoping to uncover oil. Some Rocky Mountain states, including Wyoming, Utah and Colorado, are also under the spotlight after Bush pushed Wednesday to harvest oil from shale found in the region.

Just the thing to add fuel to the fire in a heated race between the two Colorado Senate candidates, former congressman and current energy executive Bob Schaffer (R) and Rep. Mark Udall (D). The League of Conservation Voters, an environmental advocacy group, is up with a new ad (subscription) scrutinizing Schaffer's track record with oil companies.

"In Congress, Bob Schaffer voted to give $13 billion in tax breaks to gas and big oil," an announcer says in the ad. "Schaffer then became an executive at a big oil company and went to Iraq to secure a contract for Iraqi oil. So it’s no surprise that Schaffer’s campaigns have taken $150,000 from gas and big oil." The 30-second spot reiterates claims the organization put forth in another ad (subscription) at the end of May.

Continue reading Bob's Big Oil Record

Senate Race, Television Ad

Wednesday, June 18, 2008 11:55 AM

In a new TV ad released Monday, Oregon Sen. Gordon Smith is sticking to a strategy common among Republican incumbents this cycle: avoiding any mention of party ID. "Guts And Independence" (subscription) features two local Democratic leaders endorsing Smith instead of Democratic challenger Jeff Merkley, and Smith is never labeled as a Republican.

State Sen. Avel Gordly and former Rep. Elizabeth Furse sit side by side and speak straight to the camera, offering their reasons for supporting Smith in his re-election bid. They cite Smith's opposition to the Iraq war and willingness "to stand up to George Bush and other Republicans" as evidence of his "independence." They pledge to voters: "You can trust him. We do." Smith appears on screen at the end to place his stamp of approval on "working together across party lines," a tagline borrowed from his first general election ad, Middle Ground" (subscription), which also stressed the senator's bipartisan approach.

With President Bush's job approval sinking to record lows, it's no wonder that GOP leaders from Washington are taking pains to distance themselves from the party and its figurehead. Meanwhile, Democrat Barack Obama is running ahead of John McCain in the presidential contest in Oregon, according to recent polls, meaning that it could prove harder for a Republican to win in a downballot race. But Smith maintains a significant fundraising advantage over Merkley, who has yet to go up with any TV ads in the general.

Economy, Senate Race, Television Ad

Monday, June 16, 2008 4:55 PM

With the bitter GOP primary battle finally over in the New Mexico Senate race, the general election campaign for the seat of retiring Sen. Pete Domenici (R) between Reps. Steve Pearce (R) and Tom Udall (D) has commenced.

Pearce will have to play catch-up to Udall, who coasted through the primary season, running unopposed. He capitalized on his head start by releasing two debut ads (subscription) last month with an eye toward the general election.

Udall, who represents the state's 3rd District, is now up with another ad, "Crush"(subscription), which blames President Bush for high gas, food and health care costs that an announcer says are "crushing America." After touting alternative energy and his plans to revolutionize health care, Udall concludes by asserting that "we have to make the economy work for the middle class again."

Campaign spokeswoman Marissa Padilla said Udall's voting record differs from Pearce's in key areas, such as the war in Iraq, which Udall does not support, but that the campaign is focusing on what Udall can offer the state rather than comparing the two. "Udall has a strong record as a prosecutor and an attorney general and a congressman, and we're working to highlight his record," Padilla said.

Economy, Senate Race, Television Ad

Friday, June 13, 2008 12:50 PM

Former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen (D) and incumbent John Sununu (R) made their rematch for the New Hampshire Senate seat official over the last week. Sununu stressed in comments to reporters on Tuesday that he has broken from the Bush administration on several important issues and become an "independent voice" in the Senate. But Shaheen has gone on the offensive, launching the second TV ad of the race on the same day Sununu officially announced his re-election bid, seeking to tie him to Bush on everything from Iraq to the economy.

In "Afford" (subscription), Shaheen implies that Sununu is doing the bidding of special interests in Washington and claims that she will stand up for "New Hampshire families who are struggling."

The spot shows Shaheen speaking with voters at a gas station. "The price of fuel, it's just impacted everything," one man laments, and Shaheen says, "I think we need a senator in New Hampshire who's going to represent families in New Hampshire and not the oil companies." An announcer describes her plan to "crack down" on price gouging and end tax breaks for "big oil," while emphasizing that Shaheen "doesn't take money from oil company PACs."

Shaheen lost to Sununu by just 20,000 votes in 2002; this year, Democrats consider him to be one of the most vulnerable GOP senators up for re-election, and recent polls show him trailing.

Defense, Senate Race, Television Ad

Wednesday, June 11, 2008 11:30 AM

Colorado Rep. Mark Udall (D) isn't afraid to talk about the war on terror. During his bid to represent Colorado in the Senate, that's meant taking jabs at his GOP opponent, former Congressman Bob Schaffer, for "rubber-stamping" the Iraq war, showing his support for the 21st Century GI Bill on the steps of the state Capitol and, most recently, outlining his plans to protect the country in two new TV ads.

"It isn't just something you see; security is something you feel," Udall says in "Respected" (subscription), which began airing Tuesday in Denver. "That's why we've got to defeat al-Qaida where they're based -- in Afghanistan -- and finally hunt down Osama bin Laden."

Udall's other recent spot (subscription), released May 30 throughout Colorado, touches on his plans to revamp the military. "These days, maybe you're wondering, isn't there a better way to protect America?" Udall says in the ad. "I think so. Add an entire new division to our Army. Do right by our veterans."

Continue reading One-Two Punch In Colorado

Domestic Issues, Senate Race, Television Ad

Tuesday, June 10, 2008 3:30 PM

What's the most effective way to attack a Republican candidate this election year? Judging by recent ads from MoveOn.org, Americans United for Change and a slew of other liberal groups, Democrats think the answer to that question will be much the same as it was in 2006: tie the candidate to the policies of President Bush.

The Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, an environmental advocacy organization, is the most recent group to take up this line of attack, releasing its second ad of the New Mexico Senate race against Republican Rep. Steve Pearce. Pearce, who represents the state's 2nd District, is vying for the open Senate seat against Democratic Rep. Tom Udall.

"Both" (subscription), which was released Friday, is the first ad of the general election, which began last week when Pearce narrowly beat out Rep. Heather Wilson for the GOP's nomination. "Call Steve Pearce and tell him we need lower fuel costs, not more support for George Bush and Big Oil," urges the ad's announcer. The spot cites congressional votes suggesting that Pearce and Bush support tax breaks for oil companies and oppose increasing fuel mileage standards.

Continue reading Attack Ads 101: The Bush Analogy

Senate Race, Television Ad

Friday, June 6, 2008 3:30 PM

Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore (R), briefly a candidate for president in 2007, barely beat out state Rep. Bob Marshall at the state Republican Convention last Saturday to earn his party's nomination for the Senate seat being vacated by John Warner (R) in November. That Gilmore had so much trouble defeating the little-known Marshall bodes ill for his chances in the fall, when he will face another former governor, Mark Warner (D), extremely popular in much of the state.

Warner holds a significant fundraising advantage over Gilmore and put it to use the very day Gilmore became the GOP nominee, releasing the first TV ad of the race. "Budget Mess" (subscription) features state Democrats and Republicans recounting Warner's success in turning "the worst budget shortfall in Virginia history" in 2001 -- which it is implied Gilmore helped create during his tenure -- into a surplus.

Continue reading Commonwealth Race Commences

Senate Race, Television Ad

Tuesday, June 3, 2008 11:15 AM

Although he has yet to go on the air, New Hampshire Republican John Sununu has received a boost from conservative nonprofit Citizens United as he attempts to defend his Senate seat from former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen (D).

“Who could have guessed how the Internet would change our lives?" an announcer asks in the new ad, "Innovation" (subscription), which hit New Hampshire airwaves late last week. "Fortunately, Senator John Sununu leads the battle in Washington to defeat Internet taxation schemes."

The ad concludes by highlighting Sununu's efforts in Congress, such as sponsoring a measure that would permanently free the Internet from taxes.

"Citizens United is an organization dedicated to the principles of lower taxation and limited government, so we believe very strongly that the Internet should remain free from government interference and tax collectors," said organization spokesman Will Holley. "And Senator Sununu has far and away been the leader for preventing that from happening."

Shaheen released her debut ad on May 20.

Senate Race, Television Ad

Friday, May 30, 2008 4:00 PM

State House Speaker Jeff Merkley edged out Portland lawyer Steve Novick last week to become the Oregon Democratic Party's nominee for the Senate. Meanwhile, the incumbent, Sen. Gordon Smith (R), was already busy trying to set the tone of the general election.

Smith spent nearly half a million dollars (subscription) running attack ads (subscription) against both Democrats, but particularly targeting Merkley, before the primary race even wrapped up. And the senator went up with a new spot the day before Merkley captured the nomination, portraying himself as a middle-of-the-road candidate with wide support from both conservative and liberal Oregonians.

In "Middle Ground" (subscription), an announcer proclaims Smith to be "moderate, independent," and "bipartisan," while listing policy issues on which she claims Smith has worked with both Republicans and Democrats. "The Oregonian says 'Smith stands for beliefs on middle ground,'" the announcer proclaims, while also citing National Journal's 2007 Senate vote ratings, which placed Smith "at the center of the Senate." Smith appears on screen at the end of the spot to express his approval for "working together across party lines."

Continue reading Moving To The Middle

Senate Race, Television Ad

Friday, May 30, 2008 12:45 PM

Former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen (D) launched her debut ad last week in the New Hampshire Senate race -- a rematch with Sen. John Sununu (R), who defeated Shaheen by four points in 2002.

"First" (subscription) begins with a series of photos showing past white, male governors of the Granite State. "This is what New Hampshire governors used to look like," an announcer says. "Then came Jeanne Shaheen." In addition to listing Shaheen's accomplishments as governor, the ad also attempts to reintroduce her to voters, linking her upbringing and her family life to the fact that "she puts people first."

Shaheen faces no opposition in the September 9 Democratic primary.

Senate Race, Television Ad

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 11:50 AM

The GOP contenders vying for the open seat of retiring Sen. Pete Domenici (R) have continued their scathing attacks as the June 3 primary vote nears.

Last week, Rep. Heather Wilson (R) launched a new ad (subscription) chastising Rep. Steve Pearce (R) for voting in Congress to cut Social Security for widows and orphans, and to cut state hospital funding. "Steve Pearce: Cut Social Security. Cut New Mexico hospitals. Wrong for New Mexico," the announcer seethes. "With that record, he can't win in November."

The ad's hostile tone is similar to attack ads both candidates released in early May, which set the stage for the GOP battle. The Club for Growth has also run a series of ads in the state charging Wilson with being too liberal.

With the general election season just a week away, the Democratic candidate, Rep. Tom Udall, will likely benefit the most from these ad wars. He doesn't face any opposition in his party's primary, and he has more money than both Republicans.

Defense, John McCain, Senate Race, Television Ad

Friday, May 23, 2008 4:15 PM

That's what a handful of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans asked John McCain and fellow GOP Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, in two new ads VoteVets.org released this week to precede the Senate's consideration of the bipartisan 21st-century GI bill. The bill passed the Senate on Thursday as part of a larger war spending package that President Bush has threatened to veto.

The veterans in the ads claim that the bill, sponsored by Sens. Jim Webb, D-Va., and Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., offers them complete educational benefits, and they urge the senators to support it.

The ad targeting McCain and the one targeting Cornyn, who is facing a tough re-election challenge from Democrat Rick Noriega, are virtually identical, except the former contends that a substitute bill McCain has introduced would only provide partial benefits. "McCain thinks covering a fraction of our education is enough," one of the veterans says. "We didn't give a fraction in Iraq," says another. "We gave 100 percent."

Jon Soltz, an Iraq war veteran and chairman of VoteVets.org, continues to have high hopes for the Webb-Hagel bill.

"We'll consider any and all means we can to ensure that the president signs the bill, and if he doesn't, make sure that Congress knows that overriding a veto means supporting our troops," Soltz said. "It's that simple."

Senate Race, Television Ad

Friday, May 23, 2008 11:30 AM

Club For Growth launched a new ad in New Mexico on Thursday, "Budget" (subscription), that criticizes Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M.) for what the group says is her liberal stance on fiscal issues. The ad contrasts Wilson's votes in the House unfavorably with those of her opponent in the New Mexico Senate primary, Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.). "When it comes to this year's budget, tell Wilson to vote like Pearce," an announcer concludes.

"Budget" comes on the heels of another ad Club For Growth ran in the state between May 9 and May 16, which focused on Wilson's vote in favor of expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program last year. "S-CHIP" (subscription) ties Wilson to Hillary Rodham Clinton and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who also voted for the measure, which an announcer contends is "one of the largest tax hikes, welfare expansions, and government-run health care plans in history."

"S-CHIP encompasses a lot of things that Republicans tend not to like," said Club For Growth spokeswoman Nachama Soloveichik. "We thought it was important for Republicans in the state to know how their Republicans were voting on these types of bills."

Senate Race, Television Ad

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 3:30 PM

Democratic voters in Oregon are choosing today not only between Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, but also between attorney Steve Novick and state House Speaker Jeff Merkley, both seeking to take on Sen. Gordon Smith (R) in November. A plurality of Democrats reported being undecided (subscription) between Novick and Merkley with just over a week to go in the contest.

Novick, who is less than five feet tall and has a hook for a left hand, entered the race as an underdog. Merkley was the handpicked candidate of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. The DSCC has dedicated about $300,000 to TV ads for Merkley over the last several weeks, making this the first race the committee has jumped into during this election cycle. The Politico reports that, "If Novick wins the May 20 primary, it will mark the first time" that the DSCC "under Chairman Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has involved itself in a Democratic primary without seeing its favored candidate become the nominee."

In "Both Ways" (subscription), the DSCC goes after Smith for a negative ad he ran attacking both Merkley and Novick -- refuting only the charges against Merkley, however. An announcer points out that while Smith has said in TV ads that he wants to avoid "partisan fighting," his "other ads attack Democratic opponents and smear Jeff Merkley." The announcer claims that, not only did Merkley not take money from state lobbyists during the legislative session as Smith claims, but that "Gordon Smith knows it."

Continue reading DSCC Throws Weight Behind Merkley

Senate Race, Television Ad

Monday, May 19, 2008 6:00 PM

The battle for the open Senate seat being vacated by GOP Sen. Wayne Allard in Colorado has officially commenced on TV screens across the state, with both the major candidates releasing their first ads within the past week.

Rep. Mark Udall offers a glimpse of his energy policy proposals in his debut ad, "Stand" (subscription). The ad describes the Democrat's position on a series of bipartisan measures, including calls for more renewable fuels and plans to stimulate a "new energy economy" with tax incentives.

Bob Schaffer (R), former congressman and current energy industry executive, also released his first ad last week, "Moving Forward" (subscription). In the spot, Schaffer describes his deep roots in the state and touches on a few traditional Republican issues, such as balancing budgets and growing a strong economy.

Continue reading Debut Ads Released In Colorado Senate Race

Senate Race, Television Ad

Monday, May 19, 2008 1:15 PM

With less than 24 hours to go before voters head to the polls in Kentucky, businessman Greg Fischer is firing a last shot at his opponent in the Democratic Senate primary, health care executive Bruce Lunsford, in an effort to stage a last-minute comeback. Fischer was the first to go negative in the race, and he and Lunsford have been engaged in a back-and-forth over the last several weeks.

In "The Lesson" (subscription), Fischer's daughter, Mary, asks him what "change" means. "It means different things to different people," he explains, as shots of Lunsford promising "change" appear onscreen. "To Bruce Lunsford, change meant deserting the Democratic Party," Fischer charges, referring to Lunsford's decision to endorse Republican Ernie Fletcher in the 2003 race for governor after losing the Democratic primary. The ad shows footage of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., thanking Lunsford and calling him a "change agent," as Mary proclaims: "Ew. We need change, change we can trust."

Lunsford shot back two days later with "Trust," in which an announcer says that while Fischer "attacks Democrats for crossing party lines," he "and his family have given thousands to Republicans like George Bush and Mitch McConnell." The announcer also claims that the businesses Fischer owns "were investigated and fined by the federal government for unsafe working conditions."

Fischer responded with one of the more humorous ads we have seen this election season. In "Bruce 'The Mud Man' Lunsford" (subscription), the Fischer camp portrays the primary campaign as a wrestling match between Lunsford and "the good people of Kentucky." "In this corner we have Bruce 'Mud Man' Lunsford," an announcer proclaims as black-and-white footage of mud wrestling is shown. "He spent millions dragging Ben 'Good Guy' Chandler through the mud" in the 2003 gubernatorial race, "only to be knocked out and then endorse Republican Ernie Fletcher." The announcer then assails Lunsford for donating $60,000 to Republican candidates and denying it in a recent debate (he later apologized and said that he misspoke). "On Tuesday, stand up, Kentucky. Throw Bruce 'Mud Man' Lunsford out of the ring," the announcer concludes.

Continue reading Mud Wrestling In Kentucky

Domestic Issues, Senate Race, Television Ad

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 4:30 PM

The Republican contest to hold onto the seat of retiring New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici still has three weeks to go before the primary vote, but already Reps. Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce have struck a contentious note, with a rash of negative TV ads earlier this month. That tone looks unlikely to change after Wilson began airing an ad this weekend criticizing Pearce for votes to shutter a local Air Force base and cut funding to government labs such as the one at Los Alamos.

"Pearce voted four times to slash lab funding that would have cost New Mexico thousands of jobs and put America's security at risk," the ad (subscription) warns. "Heather Wilson fought for New Mexico every time." Most of the attacks traded by the two campaigns in their paid media have revolved around their respective voting records in Congress.

The ad is Wilson's second of the race. Like her first, it concludes by labeling her a "common-sense conservative" -- setting her up as a more pragmatic, centrist alternative to Pearce, whose advertising has emphasized his ideological purity, calling him the "one conservative running for Senate."

Senate Race, Television Ad

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 3:30 PM

Just six days out from a closely contested Democratic Senate primary vote in Oregon, state House Speaker Jeff Merkley and attorney Steve Novick are taking different approaches with their advertising strategies. While Merkley is fighting back against negative ads from Republican incumbent Gordon Smith and going after Novick with an attack ad, Novick has pledged to stay positive for the remainder of the race.

In Merkley's first TV ad of the month, "Places" (subscription), he highlights his working-class background, claiming that "Gordon Smith and I come from two very different places." An announcer then outlines Merkley's plans to help working-class families who are feeling the pinch from a slow economy.

Merkley was also quick to respond to a negative ad (subscription) released on May 2 by Smith, firing back just two days later with "Kidding" (subscription), which accuses Smith of hypocrisy and of "falsely" attacking Merkley. "Gordon Smith. Who is he kidding?" an announcer asks. Responding to Smith's claim that Merkley violated fundraising rules, the announcer insists that "Merkley enacted the toughest ethics reforms in Oregon's history," whereas it's "Smith who's taken a quarter of a million dollars from Big Oil and voted to give them billions in special tax breaks." Seeking to counter Smith's claim that he is a candidate of change, the ad labels him "just another special-interest senator."

Continue reading Oregon Dems Duke It Out

Radio Ad, Senate Race, Television Ad

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 4:53 PM

After several months of sitting back and letting Democrats Steve Novick and Jeff Merkley go after each other, Republican incumbent Gordon Smith has jumped into the fray in the Oregon Senate race, launching attacks on both of his potential Democratic challengers, but saving special censure for Merkley.

Smith made his TV debut with "Get It" (subscription), a positive ad touting his record in the Senate as an "independent." Seated in a wood-paneled office with soothing music playing in the background, Gordon tries to separate himself from the "partisan fighting, gridlock" of the nation's capital. "That's Washington’s answer to your problems, not mine. I get it," he insists. "No matter who our next president is -- him or her -- I'll find common ground for the change we need." The ad closes with the tagline, "Common ground for the common good."

This tone of niceness didn't last long, however. Just days after "Get It" went on the air, Smith released an ad attacking both Merkley and Novick. "Change? " (subscription) challenges the notion that either Democrat will be a "candidate of change." An announcer accuses Merkley of breaking fundraising rules which he helped set and cites an article from the Oregonian calling Novick the "liberal champion of government spending."

Along with attacking his would-be opponents, Smith also attempts to do something in this ad that it may be difficult to pull off -- usurp the "change" label despite having 12 years of Washington experience. Merkley and Novick represent "more of the same when it's time for a change," the announcer concludes.

Continue reading Smith Lashes Out At Oregon Dems

Senate Race, Television Ad

Monday, May 12, 2008 6:00 PM

As his Democratic opponents continue to challenge each other for their party's nomination, this Republican candidate with years of experience in Washington has begun running general election advertising before officially receiving the nod in order to maintain a presence in the race and define his candidacy before others can.

John McCain? No, Mike Johanns, former secretary of Agriculture, former Nebraska governor and current candidate for Senate in the state's uncrowded Republican field. Both parties hold their primaries on Tuesday, and Johanns is all but assured of the nomination.

Johanns recently released his first ad of the race, a bio spot replete with images of cowboys and hay-bailing that depicts him as the embodiment of "Nebraska values." In "Proven. Tested. Trusted." (subscription), an announcer claims that Johanns "led us out of a post-9/11 recession" as governor and "changed business as usual at the Department of Agriculture."

Johanns' focus on his experience in President Bush's Cabinet -- as well as his unlikely reference to the Sept. 11 attacks -- suggests that he won't try to distance himself from the past eight years of Republican leadership. Rather, the spot heavily emphasizes experience and nostalgia in an election cycle that Johanns' Democratic opponents are both betting will hinge on change.

Continue reading Johanns Looks Past The Primary

Senate Race, Television Ad

Thursday, May 8, 2008 4:45 PM

Businessman Greg Fischer fired the first salvo against health care executive Bruce Lunsford late last month, in what has become an increasingly tense race for the Kentucky Democratic Senate nomination.

Fischer's attack ad features actress Dale Carter Cooper making accusations about Lunsford's tenure at a nursing home business, Vencor. "He's the last person in the world I'd want in the Senate," Cooper says of Lunsford, charging that "his business practices are totally unethical." She accuses Lunsford of "evicting elderly people from nursing homes," leaving them "out in the cold" with "no place to go, no person to appeal to." The ad ends with this definitive message appearing on screen: "Say no to Bruce Lunsford."

Continue reading Kentucky Ad Derby

Senate Race, Television Ad

Tuesday, May 6, 2008 4:50 PM

After both faced negative advertising from a third-party group, the two Republican members of Congress vying to replace Sen. Pete Domenici (R) have each released negative ads of their own -- against each other.

Two weeks ago, Rep. Steve Pearce released a TV ad, "Consistent Conservative," claiming the conservative mantle for himself and implying that his primary opponent, Rep. Heather Wilson, is too liberal for New Mexico. "There's only one: only one conservative in the race for Senate," the ad says, crediting Pearce for being "the only New Mexico congressman to oppose a disastrous government-run socialized-medicine scheme" (a reference to the State Children's Health Insurance program, which Wilson supported).

The attacks became more explicit a week later, when Pearce's campaign released a second ad alleging that Wilson missed important votes in order to film negative campaign commercials. "Wilson missed doing the people's work, because she put her political ambition first," an announcer claims. For good measure, the ad's tagline -- "liberal values, liberal votes" -- adds the charge of liberalism to its accusations of congressional truancy.

Continue reading When New Mexico Reps Attack

Senate Race, Television Ad

Monday, April 28, 2008 5:04 PM

When the Democratic presidential primary circus comes to town, downballot candidates in most states know they can expect above-average primary turnout and a more engaged electorate. In states like Nebraska, however, which held its Democratic presidential caucuses on February 9 but doesn't have congressional primaries until May 13, there's a greater hurdle involved in getting supporters to the polls. Call it the fervor gap.

Advertising is just one method candidates can use to reach voters, but it's one that can take on an outsized importance when distances are far, voters are few and engagement is low. No surprise then that both Democrats running to replace retiring Sen. Chuck Hagel (R) have purchased ad time in order to introduce themselves to Nebraskans, particularly in Omaha and Lincoln, the state's biggest cities and home to the highest concentrations of registered Democrats.

Tony Raimondo, a businessman making his first bid for public office, launched his first two TV spots this month. The first, "Great Boss," features employees of Raimondo's manufacturing plant in Columbus telling viewers about their boss's background while praising his leadership and business skills. "Tony took over a failing company and built it into a Nebraska success story," they say in the ad. Raimondo goes it alone in his second spot, in which he argues that the war in Iraq is distracting us from domestic priorities and we need to "honorably bring our troops home."

Continue reading Can TV Close Nebraska's Fervor Gap?

Senate Race, Television Ad

Friday, April 25, 2008 3:15 PM

With years of campaign experience, high name recognition and support from the party establishment, Bruce Lunsford is the favorite to win Kentucky's Democratic Senate primary next month. But in a new TV ad, Lunsford's opponent, Greg Fischer, argues that even if Lunsford were able to defeat incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) this fall, he would bring "no change at all."

Fischer has adopted the change mantle in the race, using a slogan ("Change you can trust") that's very similar to Barack Obama's ("Change we can believe in"). His new TV spot is a fast-paced piece featuring a patchwork of video clips that introduce Fischer as a public servant, not a politician.

Continue reading Fischer Claims The Change Mantle In Kentucky

Senate Race, Television Ad

Thursday, April 24, 2008 1:30 PM

With just under a month to go before voters head to the polls in the Oregon Senate Democratic primary, attorney Steve Novick refuses to let up in his effort to upset state House Speaker Jeff Merkley.

Merkley has the backing of the Democratic establishment, including Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Charles Schumer, who, as Roll Call points out, has "a proven record of shepherding his preferred candidate to victory."

Hoping to capitalize on his financial advantage, Merkley has increased his TV advertising, releasing a new spot that features his wife, nurse Mary Sorteberg, praising his commitment to fix health care. Dressed in scrubs, Sorteberg describes her husband's decision to run for the Senate as "a calling." "Jeff is passionate about changing this country and fixing health care so everyday people get the care they need," she claims. She hits on the general points of Merkley's health care plan -- "tak[ing] power away from the drug and insurance lobbyists and giv[ing] it back to patients" -- while insisting that he will look to health care professionals when making policy decisions.

Continue reading Upstart vs. Establishment In Oregon

Economy, Senate Race, Television Ad

Tuesday, April 15, 2008 4:15 PM

While Hillary Rodham Clinton and John McCain gang up to paint Barack Obama as an "elitist," Kentucky Democrats Greg Fischer and Bruce Lunsford are employing a similar tack against incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell (R), portraying him as out of touch with his constituents in a pair of new spots.

In Fischer's first ad (subscription) of the campaign, he implicitly contrasts himself with McConnell by focusing on his own outsider status. "I really strongly believe that people are looking for somebody that's not part of the system, because the system's broken," Fischer says. He claims to have "created jobs and opportunities for thousands of people" and pledges to "fight for real change every day and restore the promise of Kentucky."

Continue reading Dems Tag-Team McConnell

Domestic Issues, Senate Race, Television Ad

Tuesday, April 15, 2008 2:15 PM

Regardless of which Republican candidate wins the party nomination in the New Mexico Senate primary race, the environment will be in danger, asserts a new ad from advocacy group Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund.

"Two Bad For New Mexico" (subscription) uses a common metaphor to present New Mexico Reps. Steve Pearce and Heather Wilson as two sides of the same coin on environmental issues. "Heads: Wilson took $525,000 from Big Oil and gave them billions in tax breaks," the ad claims. "Tails: Pearce took $492,000 from Big Oil and voted against fuel efficiency."

This isn't the first time the group has bought airtime (subscription) to push a green agenda, and Defenders of Wildlife President Rodger Schlickeisen told AP last week that the organization plans to invest heavily in the New Mexico race. The group's endorsement has already been locked up by Democratic candidate Tom Udall, another New Mexico congressman, who is running unchallenged for his party's nomination.

Senate Race, Television Ad

Thursday, April 10, 2008 4:20 PM

Oregon Senate candidate Jeff Merkley (D) received an unpleasant surprise this week: A SurveyUSA poll showed he was trailing Portland lawyer Steve Novick and statistically tied with long-shot candidate Candy Neville, despite having the support of the state's Democratic establishment. The message? Novick's unconventional ads (subscription), which began running in January, seem to be making an impression with voters.

Merkley hopes his TV ad debut (subscription) will help him gain ground among Oregon Democrats. "People have not focused on this campaign yet," spokesman Matt Canter told the Portland Oregonian this week, adding that the ad campaign will introduce voters to Merkley.

Continue reading Merkley Debuts On Oregon Airwaves

Senate Race, Television Ad

Tuesday, April 8, 2008 1:00 PM

Seven Kentucky Democrats are vying to take on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in November, but one in particular -- businessman Bruce Lunsford -- is already pulling away from the pack. Besides securing several weighty endorsements and enjoying a large advantage in early polling, Lunsford became the first Democrat to release TV ads, launching a new spot statewide on Friday.

Lunsford seems to be looking past his primary opponents and targeting McConnell in "Bottom Line," which combines biographical elements with a populist message: Washington is doing nothing as working-class Americans struggle to make ends meet. "Families have it tough these days," Lunsford claims. "It's discouraging to see hard-working families lose their jobs and their homes."

Taking a page from the "change" message that's been so popular at the top of his party's ticket, Lunsford asserts that "We can sit back, or we can fight. ... It’s time to change Washington." McConnell's name is not mentioned in the spot, but the implication is clear: The minority leader is part of the problem, not the solution.

Continue reading Lunsford Targets McConnell In Bluegrass State Debut

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