Ex-Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina’s (R) “is criticizing” Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) “over a fundraiser sponsored by lobbyists who help local governments and agencies obtain federal earmarks.”
Fiorina’s camp “says the fundraiser… demonstrates Boxer’s efforts to seek federal money for those who donate to her re-election campaign.”
Fiorina’s camp “points to earmarks totaling” $6.7M “that Boxer has requested over the past three years” for CA agencies and communities represented by the DC lobbying firm, Alcade and Fay.
Boxer mgr. Rose Kapolczynski “rejected the suggestion of a quid pro quo for companies that donate campaign cash.”
Kapolczynski: “There is absolutely no connection between campaign contributions and official Senate actions, period.”
“Officials with Fiorina’s campaign say they don’t dispute the merits of the projects funded with the earmarks and acknowledge that Fiorina also received fundraising help from lobbying firms.”
But Fiorina deputy mgr. Julie Soderlund said the fundraiser shows Boxer is engaged in a “practice of taking campaign contributions in exchange for securing earmarks.”
Kapolczynski “said Boxer sought money for the bridge and rail projects because they will reduce traffic and create jobs. She said the earmarks are examples of how Boxer will fight for money that will lead to more jobs in her state” (Freking, AP, 10/7).
CA GOV nominee/ex-eBay CEO Meg Whitman (R) and Fiorina — “who have taken divergent paths, both figuratively and literally, on the campaign trail — will make a rare joint public appearance” today. “Whitman and Fiorina will both speak at the Hispanic 100 Lifetime Achievement Award Gala in Newport Beach” tonight.
“The two candidates have rarely been seen in public together since winning” their nominations, though Whitman spokesperson Sarah Pompei “says the two have appeared at joint fundraising events” (York, Los Angeles Times, 10/7).
CA GOPers “sense perhaps their best opportunity to defeat” Boxer, “a constant target of conservative ire.”
“The state’s economy is a mess, and their candidate is a former business executive whose campaign has focused on creating jobs as the state tries to rebound from the deepest downturn since the Great Depression. Boxer, true to form, is putting up a fight in her quest for a fourth Senate term.”
Boxer and Fiorina “differ on almost all issues, including offshore oil drilling, health care reform, tax cuts for the wealthy and abortion. The contrast between the candidates has provided what both describe as the ‘clearest choice in the nation.’”
“Despite their many differences, Boxer and Fiorina are promoting the same central message — that each knows best how help steer an economic recovery. They are doing so even as they disagree on virtually every piece of legislation that has come before Congress aimed at improving the economy” (Lin, AP, 10/7).
Everyone who avidly follows politics has his or her own list of the true “swing states” in this presidential election. The lists that really matter, however, are the ones kept by top strategists for the Obama and Romney campaigns, and the ones kept by the one large Democratic and five Republican-oriented super PACs and by other major presidential advertisers this year. Figures compiled by Elizabeth Wilner of Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group show that, beginning on April 10 — the day Rick Santorum dropped his presidential bid, effectively making Mitt Romney the Republican nominee — and through May 29, there have been 63,793 television spots run in 57 out of the nation’s 210 media markets.
CMAG figures look at all broadcast and cable, national, and local television ads in each of those 210 media markets. They are analyzed by CMAG’s staff and divided by the number of Electoral College votes that each state has. Nevada ranked first with $677,332 per Electoral College vote. Iowa came in second with $496,088, and Ohio was third with $467,068. In fourth place was Virginia with $331,680, followed by Colorado with $313,653. New Hampshire came in sixth with $283,342, and North Carolina came in seventh with $237,329. In eighth and ninth places, respectively, were Pennsylvania at $204,670 and Florida at $101,107. These data potentially call into question the Romney campaign’s seriousness about contesting Pennsylvania and about how long Democrats plan to compete for Florida.
According to Wilner, $8,407,220 was the total aired from April 10 to May 29 in Ohio alone — tops on the national list in total general-election television spending so far. Virginia was in second place with $4,311,840; Pennsylvania came in third with $4,093,400; and Nevada fell into fourth place with $4,063,990. Ranking fifth, sixth, and seventh were North Carolina with $3,559,940; Iowa with $2,976,530 (including spending in neighboring Omaha); and Florida with $2,932,110. Colorado came next with $2,822,880, followed by New Hampshire with $1,133,370.
Conspicuous in its absence on the list is Wisconsin. As with so much of life, all is not always as it seems. Neither side spent any money in the Badger State, expected by many observers to be a swing state. The truth is, both sides’ presidential strategists wanted to stay off the air until after Tuesday’s recall election of Gov. Scott Walker. In a couple of weeks, we will be able to see where Wisconsin falls on the priority list. CMAG chief Ken Goldstein points out that between the presidential primary, the recall election, a contested GOP Senate primary contest, and reasonably competitive Senate and presidential races in the state, Wisconsin television viewers will be enduring more political ads than any state in history.
Nationally, with all of this money being spent on general-election television, even before the last primaries have been officially conducted, total presidential spending is likely to easily blow past $2 billion. It’s little wonder, then, that Kantar’s CMAG has carved out a vital niche in the process. CMAG tells highly interested and deeply invested parties who is spending what, how much they are spending, and where they are spending it.
But CMAG provides this information with the “secret sauce” added. It tells clients the tone and content of the ads and when a campaign is changing its message and shifting its resources on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis. It’s not hard to imagine how this info is used: Knowing that the opposition or competing interest group has shifted its advertising focus or has changed the tone and content of an ad can lead to the other side making a countermove. Thus the data turn these campaigns into fast-moving chess games based almost on real-time updates of the ad mix.
As soon as the November election is over, CMAG’s Goldstein and Wilner expect a deluge of advertising in the Washington, D.C., market as well as in others. Interest groups will battle to get messages across in anticipation of the lame-duck session of Congress. The number of different organizations expected to go on the air trying to protect various provisions and program funding may make the health care reform fight look like small potatoes by comparison. For broadcasters and certain publications, we’ll just call that the dessert after the Thanksgiving dinner.