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Whip them out ladies, lets see who's got the biggest

...ad buys that is.
I noticed no one had posted all week since Eapen's ongoing blogfeud with toolbag.
I have not been really following much of what's gone on in the world since i've been back: my time has been taken up by family concerns and my clients.
Not surprisingly, Ive become a lot more aware of what's going on around Missouri.

Last week, two republicans went on the air statewide, and in KC the action is heating up as well.
First - Col. Jack Jackson, the front runner for State Auditor, launched a slick spot touting his management capabilities and leadership. Although I wouldn't mind seeing Sen. John Loudon (who, when Im back in St. Louis, is my State Senator) win the nod (I think Montee would wipe the floor with Loudon), Jackson's tactical advantage will put him over the top 8 days from now. This is a textbook case of using campaign media well; In a crowded primary, Jackson doesn't acknowledge his other candidates, and seizes the metaphorical high ground. It wasn't carpetbombing, but it established a presence, and now, everyone has to answer him, which, John Loudon just did - the first TV spot I've seen of his, also positive, just aired in the prime time slot on KSDK in St. Louis.

In KC, finally some of the races are turning ugly. Regular readers of the KC Buzz Blog know how boring this year has been - with the clock ticking, things appear to be boiling over. Now, camps have been made, lines in the sand drawn, and candidates are finally starting to speak their minds about where they stand in an effort to differentiate themselves from each other.
Who says a lil negativity is all that's ailing the body politic?

In contrast to Jackson's ads, Sen. Jim Talent is flooding the market with a massive TV and radio buy. Well, the pros:
-He can afford it. With over 7 million raised according to his last quarterly finance report, released last week, dwarfed State Auditor Claire McCaskill's impressive 2.75 million.
-He needs it. High fundraising and early media reinforce the things that make incumbents so hard to beat, which is legitimacy in the voter's eye, and the race has been neck and neck. You can expect a 2-4 point bounce on the next tracking poll from WSJ. They currently have Talent up, but inside the margin of error.
The cons:
-He needs it. If he weren't vulnerable, this would be his ad: It's free, and it would get repeated ad nauseum until Claire could answer him effectively, first of all - a press conference - he'd get up behind a big podium in his Senate office, with the US Senate seal and big American flags behind him and say "Claire McCaskill is the wrong person to serve Missouri in the US Senate. She's done nothing but critique the highly popular and highly necessary work I've done on behalf of missourians, and have done since my days in the Missouri house. Let her present a coherent platform, let her get up and defend it. Missouri is the Show Me State, Claire, if you want my seat, Show the voters of Missouri a plan. "
Claire just doesn't need to go up just yet. She is wildly popular among democrats and well known among likely voters because she just ran a statewide campaign.
-He's pandering. This morning I watched in disbelief as he released a new spot that Talent released - it runs something like this. An articulate and attractive black woman starts "I had been a democrat all my life..." and then goes on to explain that she's voting Talent because he wrote the Sickle Cell Treatment bill. Not to belittle the effect that Sickle Cell Anemia has on black america, where it is infinitely more prevalent than other populations in this country, but cmon. A pasty, nerdy white law professor from Chesterfield, who happens to be a Republican footsoldier, a champion of black interests?
It's part of the overall ad strategy, which is "Uniter, not Divider" or, if you prefer, "A good guy, he just happens to be Republican, but don't worry, not like those crazies ruining the country."
It's a bit weak - he's voted with the administration 91% of the time he's been in the Senate.

My point with using campaign media, as with all things in a PR campaign, is to do so carefully.

Two things. First, Talent's voting record with Bush was as high as 99 percent until Claire announced and since then he has voted with the President in the mid-80 percent of the time to lower that number. Second, Claire is up on TV in Springfield, and itnerestingly enough neither Talent nor McCaskill mentions their party int heir primary ad.

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