NRCC Airs First Party-Sponsored Ad in Kentucky 6th

Posted January 6, 2004 at 6:46pm

The National Republican Congressional Committee launched television and radio ads Tuesday evening in the special election race to replace now-Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R).

The ad campaign — the first by a national campaign committee since passage the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act went into effect — is a positive spot outlining the biography of the state Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr, the Republican nominee. The average 6th district viewer will see the ad 10 times in a week.

“Alice Forgy Kerr understands our special Kentucky values of hard work, commitment and integrity,” says the ad’s narrator before listing her various roles ranging from “educator” to “Sunday school teacher.”

The ad also notes that during her four years in the state Senate, Kerr “worked to make health care more available, fought to keep taxes low and bring good jobs to Kentucky.”

The commercial’s content mirrors a spot launched by Kerr on Dec. 26.

Outgoing state Attorney General Ben Chandler (D) went up with an ad of his own Dec. 29.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has no immediate plans to begin an independent expenditure campaign of it own, according to committee aides.

The special election to replace Fletcher is set for Feb. 17. Strategists on both sides of the aisle agree that Chandler begins the race with a significant lead over Kerr, based largely on name identification accumulated in his unsuccessful 2003 race for governor.

NRCC officials are quick to note that the ad is an independent expenditure paid for entirely by hard-money donations and the footage used in it was shot at a Kerr public event.

In past cycles, party campaign committees used soft money to fund lavish issue-advocacy campaigns on behalf of a variety of candidates.

BCRA banned these unlimited donations to all six party committees, forcing them to deal only in hard dollars and severely curtailing their ability to run extensive ad campaigns.

Even before the ads began running, Chandler’s campaign put out a statement decrying the ads that somewhat called for an “end of politics of personal destruction” despite the positive nature of the ad.

“Kentucky families deserve better than another season of negative political attacks and I call on my opponent to renounce these tactics and run a campaign of ideas and substance,” said Chandler.

DCCC Communications Director Kori Bernards said the ad campaign is a “testament to just how much the NRCC wants another puppet in Congress to vote for their extreme agenda regardless of what people in Kentucky really want.”