What a difference a debate can make.
About a month ago, the biggest trend among Democrats was to tie Republicans to presidential nominee Mitt Romney in an effort to sink GOP Congressional candidates. Two weeks out from Election Day — guess what? Republican are employing that strategy in reverse as they seek to ride Romney's coattails in certain states and House districts.
Here's what cut through the ad clutter today:
State Treasurer Richard Mourdock earned a lot of attention this morning when he released an ad with Romney making a personal appeal on camera for Mourdock's election to the Senate. The Mourdock campaign was not able to immediately return a request for buy information on the ad.
Republicans are making the same bet on Romney in Utah.
The campaigns of Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love and the National Republican Congressional Committee launched TV ads today that highlight Romney's support for Love. This is no surprise — as Roll Call reported in January — given Romney's popularity in Utah and the competitive challenge of taking on Rep. Jim Matheson (D). There was no other district in the country where Republican House candidates had a more vested interest in Romney becoming the nominee than in Utah's 4th district.
Love's ad includes an audio recording of Romney singing Love's praises, while the NRCC ad ties Matheson to President Barack Obama and says, "We need to … elect Mia Love" to help Romney. Here is the Love campaign ad:
While those Republicans are busy hitching themselves to the Romney comet, former WWE CEO Linda McMahon (R) sought to encourage Connecticut TV viewers to split the ticket in Democratic Connecticut. McMahon's ad spending has been astronomical in this race. The Hartford Courant has a smart rundown on local reaction to the ad. McMahon is in a tight race against Rep. Christopher Murphy (D).
Rhode Island's 1st
Republicans have gone nuclear on Rep. David Cicilline (D) in his race for re-election.
Republican nominee Brendan Doherty's campaign went up with this ad, which is part of the arms race in advertising in Rhode Island.
"Clearly, Doherty and his team are desperate and resorting to the worst kind of politics. It’s clear that he will say anything to win," Cicilline campaign manager Eric Hyers said. Hyers insisted that the Cicilline campaign has focused on the issues.
"They’ve made the decision to win by dredging up things that happened 20 years [ago], so they don’t have to talk about what will happen in three months if he gets to Congress," he added.
They had us at the bleeps.
This new spot from the National Republican Congressional Committee has very little production value. There are only graphics, and a headshot of Democratic candidate and former state Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D); there are no actors. A voiceover reads a 6-year-old quote of Sinema's that involves objectionable language. The NRCC has made substantial investments in the Phoenix media market. Sinema is in a rough race against Republican Vernon Parker for this new seat.
The NRCC used a similar tactic with an ad against attorney Ann McLane Kuster in New Hampshire's 2nd district race. One has to wonder if, though, using a candidate's own swear words against them in such an overt way will backfire?
Kyle Trygstad contributed to this report.