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While others were backing away from the Obama administration using more subtle means, West Virginia’s Gov. Joe Manchin literally took aim and fired at the Democratic agenda. It worked, and Manchin (D) will be coming to the Senate this month thanks to his special-election victory.
Manchin also exploited a big goof by national Republicans, who used actors in this ad.
Manchin’s response kept the issue alive even after the NRSC and John Raese’s campaign apologized:
Remember those North Carolinians in rocking chairs who did in Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) in 2008? Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) does, and he hired them to talk about what a great Senator he is in this ad:
Joining Pomeroy in the ads that didn't work category is this one by Tim Burns, who worked to nationalize his Pennsylvania election by running against Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Watch:
Democrats tried to use Sen. David Vitter's problems with prostitutes against him, but Vitter (R) won handily Tuesday in a race against Rep. Charlie Melancon (D). Here was one of Melancon's closing ads going right at the scandal to try to keep it fresh in the minds of Louisiana voters.
Who can forget the first time the words “I’m not a witch” were ever uttered in a television ad? The unusual subject matter didn’t help Christine O’Donnell; she was defeated easily Tuesday by Democrat Chris Coons.
During the Republican Senate primary in California, Carly Fiorina went after Tom Campbell as a “Fiscal Conservative in Name Only,” crafting one of the strangest ads of the cycle. It was a Web ad only, but it dominated the airwaves, created Twitter memes and parodies, and will forever live on in our hearts.
In the can’t make it up category, Rick Barber enjoyed using the Founding Fathers (and weaponry) in his ads. It didn’t work.
On to 2012!
Additional reporting by Ryan Teague Beckwith and the CQ Roll Call politics team.