Virginia TV Station Pulls Ad Targeting Boucher

Posted September 22, 2010 at 7:42pm

A local ABC television affiliate in Lynchburg, Va., this week pulled an ad run by the conservative third-party group Americans for Job Security after Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) said the ads were false and misleading.

At issue is an often-cited study by the Washington Post that assigns a “party voting” score that represents the percentage of votes on which a lawmaker agrees with the position taken by a majority of his or her party members.

AJS references the study when it says, “Rick Boucher supports Nancy Pelosi 96 percent of the time” in its ad, which went on the air Sept. 9.

But after Boucher’s complaint, WSET-TV President Randy Smith reviewed the ad and found that the Washington Post study “does not appear to compare votes by Congressman Boucher with those by Ms. Pelosi nor does it equate Ms. Pelosi with the Democratic Party. Hence the ad appears to be misleading.”

AJS officials argue that Pelosi is not only the titular head of the Democratic Party in the House, she also sets the legislative agenda in the chamber and has final say over what bills come up for a vote on the floor. They argue that Boucher is simply trying to distance himself from Pelosi any way he can in what has become a tough environment for Democrats, especially those in conservative districts such as Virginia’s 9th.

“The fact of the matter is Rep. Boucher supported Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s agenda 96 percent of the time,” said Steve DeMaura, president of Americans for Job Security. “Career politicians like Rep. Boucher often attempt to be one person in their district and another in Washington; in this instance it’s laughable. Rep. Boucher is a loyal lieutenant of Speaker Pelosi and has cast votes which could kill Virginia jobs, and his votes, alongside Nancy Pelosi’s ultra-liberal agenda, are frankly out of step with Virginia voters.”

Americans for Job Security bought $416,000 of airtime in the 9th district as part of a $3.5 million effort targeting nine Democrats across the country. The group is expected to spend $9 million on television ads through early October. This is the first time a television station has refused to air an AJS ad this cycle.