Campaign ads are considered by most political advisors and consultants as a necessary evil in a political campaign.
The higher the stakes, the more the ads — and potentially more negative ads.
One of the latest ads from a SuperPAC accuses one candidate of “shipping jobs to China,” and others calls three of the top fundraisers “professional politicians.”
Ohio’s 8th Congressional District is described by one political consultant as a four-leaf clover, a rare open contested seat where the incumbent is not seeking re-election. Congressional seats are coveted and those holding those seats tend to stay in there for a while. Voters have been casting ballots in this race since Feb. 17 when early voting began, but the majority of voters will be casing votes on March 15, Election Day.
Former House Speaker John Boehner stayed in Congress for 25 years before resigning this past October, and because this race is for his old seat, the allure for outside groups to influence this race in particular is high.
Here’s a look at the campaigns that have had a campaign ad on TV or online:
State Sen. Bill Beagle, R-Tipp City, released his campaign ad in late February promoting his “conservative message loud and clear” as he is skeet shooting.
He hits each skeet the narrator says Washington D.C. has failed on various issues, including protecting 2nd Amendment rights, stopping “out of control spending,” and “to keep us safe from the threat of ISIS.”
Campaign manager Dani Vandegriff said the Beagle for Congress strategy from day one “has been to use the financial resources we have to communicate with as many voters in the 8th Congressional District as possible.”
“We are one campaign committee — whose donations and expenditures are publicly disclosed — up against over $1 million of secretive D.C. special interest money in support of our opponents,” she said. “We are going to continue to share Bill’s conservative message through Election Day and make sure that voters hear the truth about his record.”
Beagle has not had any outside political action or legislative money spent in support of his campaign, but more than $238,700 has been spent in opposition of Tipp City lawmaker by outside groups. The largest expenditure by Americans for Concrete which has spent more than 99 percent of those opposition dollars.
“Every single dollar that has been spent on Bill Beagle’s behalf has been spent by Beagle for Congress and is disclosed to the public,” said Vandegriff. “This information is available directly in our campaign finance filings. Other candidates in this race can’t say the same about money that is being spent on their behalf to both promote their candidacy and try to hurt Bill’s. Unfortunately, the public is never going to know the true source of these dollars.”
WATCH pro-candidate campaign ad here: Get the Job Done
WATCH anti-candidate campaign ad here: The Conservative Choice in OH-08
Arguably most of the advertising attention this campaign season has been given to Warren Davidson’s campaign.
The Troy businessman not only has multiple support television spots, paid both by his campaign and by the Club for Growth PAC, but he has been the target of attack ads via radio and mailers.
One of the more hard-hitting ads came out last week on the radio and in mailboxes this week where the Defending Main Street SuperPAC called to question Davidson, who owns multiple businesses in the district, has located some jobs for Global Source Manufacturing in China. It also calls into question Club for Growth’s endorsement of Davidson, saying the Troy businessman would be another tool for the so-called Washington, D.C. special interest group.
Miami University Hamilton political science professor John Forren said the ads in the congressional district race “does tend to reinforce the idea that we are seeing a proxy fight playing out in the 8th Congressional District between two different factions of the Republican coalition.” One represented by the Club for Growth and one represented the Main Street Partnership.
Davidson spokeswoman Meredith Griffin-Liedel said “much” of the so-called outside money spent on this race “is being spent to attack Warren Davidson, which benefits every other candidate.”
“From the beginning of this campaign, special interest groups and those who want to defend politics as usual, have backed politicians Beagle and Derickson,” said Griffin-Liedel.
The most money spent from these outside groups, however, has been spent in support of Davidson. Outside groups account for more than $2 million of the political ads and mailers in this congressional race, and around $5,800 on attack ads toward Beagle and Derickson.
Defending Main Street SuperPAC has spent around $170,000 in Davidson attack ads, which they say claims about his businesses are supported by Davidson’s own websites.
WATCH anti-candidate campaign ad here: Ohio’s Eighth District: Jobs
Rep. Tim Derickson’s campaign ads tap into his dairy farming roots and in his first television ad, the Hanover Twp. Republican compares cleaning up the mess around the barn is comparable to cleaning up the mess in Congress.
While humorous and upbeat, it’s designed to give voters a sense that Derickson is just an average guy.
Heading into the final week, Derickson campaign manager Colton Henson said the plan “is to contact voters with Tim’s record of consistent and constructive conservatism until the polls close on Election Day.”
“Our strategy when it comes to advertising and messaging has been to highlight Tim Derickson’s record of accomplishment,” he said.
Derickson has received more than $520,000 in support, mostly from Right Way Initiative, and more than $20,000 in opposition.
“This is an important election for the future of our country, so it comes as no surprise that the race would receive major attention,” Henson said. “We cannot control what other campaigns or groups do, so we have focused on a positive campaign.”
WATCH anti-candidate campaign ad here: The Conservative Choice in OH-08
Jim Spurlino’s first ad, which remained online, touted “dirty tricks” by an unnamed candidate’s campaign where he alleged releasing potential politically damaging information. But his second ad, which hit the airwaves last month, called out out state lawmakers Tim Derickson and Bill Beagle and former Concord Twp. Trustee Warren Davidson as “professional politicians,” and have been endorsed by “other politicians.”
The ads attempt to hone in on the anti-establishment sentiments that’s being played out most famously with the Republican race for president.
Americans for Concrete had pushed ads out in opposition of Beagle and Derickson, but later amended its FEC filing to indicate they were also supportive of Spurlino, making him the third candidate in this race to get some outside advertising support. Those two filings by the Marietta, Ohio entity totaled nearly $20,200 in opposition to Beagle and Derickson while supporting Spurlino.
Baylor Myers, spokesman for Spurlino for Congress, said there’s a lot of Washington, D.C. interest by so-called special interest groups and lobbyists and they’re “paying big bucks to help the insiders in this race.”
“Voters should pay close attention because these groups will have the recipients in their debt,” Myers said. “It’s impossible to believe such tremendous sums of money — in one case over $1 million to one candidate — would not significantly influence future votes in Congress.”
You can expect the Spurlino campaign to do more door-to-door, phone calls, radio spots, TV and digital ads, and mailers through Election Day.
Earlier this month, J.D. Winteregg, of Troy, released “a powerful” web ad featuring the 34-year-old scaling a bin and tower at a local grain elevator.
He talks about the challenges facing the nation, and at the end replacing a tattered American flag with a new one.
“I wanted to provide a simple visual metaphor that rises above all the vitriol we’ve been seeing during the presidential primary,” Winteregg said. “This video is important not because I’m in it but because it highlights the mindset that Ohioans and all Americans need to adopt if we intend to get our country back on track.”
Winteregg says the American citizenry “need leaders in D.C. who aren’t afraid to do what’s right even when it’s not easy or politically expedient.”
“We need patriots who serve the people, not politicians who serve the D.C. political class,” he said.
And that’s illustrated by the amount of outside spending by so-called special interest groups on this congressional district race, he said.
Winteregg with fellow candidates Scott George and Kevin F. White issued a joint press release about the spending.
“While FEC rules state that candidates and PACs may not coordinate, PAC support for a candidate generally happens because the candidate’s views align with the PACs’ interests,” according to the statement.
The statement encourages voters to coalesce around one of the three men as opposed to Beagle, Davidson or Derickson.
“We believe the voter has a great opportunity to send the lobbyists, corporate cronies, and establishment in D.C. a message: we will choose our candidate, not you,” according to the statement.
WATCH pro-candidate campaign ad here: Never Give Up