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01/28/2010

All Mud, All The Time!

  I was channel surfing this early today, landing on a morning news program, and noticed that during the commercial break there were five (5) consecutive political ads.  In four of the five commercials the sponsoring politician had something bad to say about his/her opponent.

  Perhaps its the compressed election season that happens so early in the year...or maybe the fact that there are so many contentious races...but it appears that "negative" is the way to go for 2010 primary candidates.  And negative might be too mild a description for some of the attacks that target an opponent's overall character.  The Dan Hynes  and Pat Quinn back and forth in which they question each other's competence is an example.

  On the republican side, gazillionaire Andy McKenna's TV ads went negative months ago.  Back then, the tone was "hairy" and humorous with the easy target being ousted former governor Rod Blagojevich.  But these days McKenna's dollar-driven darts are aimed at contenders Senator Kirk Dillard and Jim Ryan.  Dillard, who began the campaign promising not to go negative, released an anti-McKenna piece this week. 

  "I gotta defend myself", the Senator explained.

   Political consultant Delmarie Cobb says she counsels her clients to present themselves in a positive way and to connect with voters who will support their programs.  She told me that historically, only candidates who believe they are trailing in races have used negative advertising as a last resort to make up ground. 

  But in 2010, those that polls suggest are "frontrunners" are just as likely to go negative to fend off challengers.

   Cobb also said that negative ads are risky politics, especially late in a campaign when the ads get to a point that all you hear from the major candidates are horrific descriptions of each other. 

   When voters no longer hear about anyone worth voting for...they simply don't come out to vote. 

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