Massachusetts: Ogonowski on TV, Gets Assist From Coleman

Posted May 7, 2008 at 6:38pm

Retired Air Force Col. Jim Ogonowski (R) launched his first television advertisement in his uphill campaign against Sen. John Kerry (D).

Ogonowski’s statewide cable buy is the first TV ad in the race. The 60-second spot includes what the campaign says are “unscripted reactions of diner patrons” in Massachusetts who say they have not seen Kerry lately in the state.

“You can learn a lot by sitting down with someone and talking to them over a cup of coffee,” Ogonowski said in a statement. “You need to listen and lead, not leave. When I am in the United States Senate, I will never forget who it is that elected me or stop listening.”

A spokesman for Kerry’s campaign denied Ogonowski’s claim that Kerry has been missing in action in the Bay State, listing hundreds of events and appearances that the Senator attended in the state so far this year.

The Republican is certainly at a monetary disadvantage: At the end of the last financial reporting period, Ogonowski had about $187,000 in cash on hand compared with Kerry’s $9.2 million. Ogonowski also has a primary to get through first, though he is favored by national Republicans to win that contest.

Earlier this week in Boston, Ogonowski received a fundraising visit from Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.). According to his campaign, Coleman hosted an “intimate reception” for 30 people with Ogonowski at the Boston Harbor Hotel.

Even though Coleman has his own election to worry about this cycle against comedian Al Franken (D), he has his eyes on becoming National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman in the 2010 election cycle, though his campaign insisted he is focused on his re-election.

“Norm Coleman thinks Jim Ogonowski will make a good Senator,” Kerry spokesman David Wade said. “Then again, Norm also thinks President Bush has done a good job. The truth is, it’s a natural fit. Norm Coleman and Jim Ogonowski have something in common: After November neither of them will be serving in the Senate.

— Shira Toeplitz