Kansas: Roberts Puts Fifth Ad of Campaign On Air

Posted July 22, 2008 at 6:30pm

Sen. Pat Roberts is up with a new television ad, with this latest spot mixing a positive message on the Republican incumbent’s record with a hit on Democratic nominee ex-Rep. Jim Slattery’s attendance record in 1994, his final year in Congress.

The latest ad buy came a day after Slattery began airing two ads of his own, both of which hit Roberts for spending 40 years in Washington, D.C. — he served as a Congressional aide in the late 1960s and has been in Congress since 1981.

Roberts’ new ad is his fifth of the campaign — the Senator has been on television for more than a month. This spot, titled “Attendance,” is running on broadcast and cable television in the Topeka and Wichita media markets.

Roberts’ other television spots have also been running in the Kansas City and Pittsburg/Joplin markets. Most have been positive spots focusing on Roberts’ record, although one of them was critical of Slattery, who has worked as a lobbyist in Washington since leaving Congress.

“Sen. Pat Roberts never stops working for Kansas,” the new, 30-second ad’s voice-over begins. “And his opponent Jim Slattery? In his last year in Congress, he skipped almost half the votes in Congress … Pat Roberts never stops working for Congress. Jim Slattery doesn’t even show up.”

Kansas tends to vote solidly Republican in presidential cycles. But Democrats believe Kansas could be in play this fall, and they contend that Roberts’ aggressive television advertising campaign this early in the race is proof that he thinks so, too.

“The more Pat Roberts attacks, the more desperate he looks to hang on to a seat that Republicans once thought they’d have no trouble defending,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman Matthew Miller said. “Voters will reject these false attacks from a politician who’s spent too long in Washington.”

Republicans in Kansas disagree.

They say the data has shown Roberts to hold a commanding lead over Slattery, and that the Senator has simply moved to exploit his financial and organizational lead over Slattery in an attempt to put the Democrat away early. Roberts closed the second quarter with $2.8 million in the bank, compared with $646,000 for Slattery, although the Democrat entered the race only recently.

“I think hammering Jim Slattery early like this is good,” Kansas GOP spokesman Christian Morgan said.