Spotlight

Early and Often

WASHINGTON - APRIL 26: Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AK) talks with reporters after voting on the US Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health And Iraq Accountability Act at the US Capitol April 26, 2007 in Washington, DC. The Senate voted 51-46 in favor of the emergency appropriations bill which provides $100 billion the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with a non-binding timeline for combat troop withdrawal beginning in October 2007. President George W. Bush has promised to veto the bill. 
National Journal
Steven Shepard
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Steven Shepard
Jan. 7, 2014, 6:50 a.m.

We’re less than a week in­to 2014, but you wouldn’t know it from the glut of early cam­paign activ­ity. This week has already brought new TV ads from Neb­raska Sen­ate can­did­ate Ben Sas­se (R), Arkan­sas gub­n­ernat­ori­al hope­ful Mike Ross (D) and would-be New York Rep. George Demos (R).

Stu­art Rothen­berg writes Tues­day that these early TV ads are noth­ing new, cit­ing an art­icle he au­thored in 1986 doc­u­ment­ing ad buys in the pre­lim­in­ary stages of that year’s midterm elec­tions. Un­sur­pris­ingly, Rothen­berg finds little cor­rel­a­tion between spend­ing early and win­ning. Some los­ing can­did­ates hit the air­waves early — Sen. Paula Hawkins (R-FL) — and lost any­way. Oth­ers — Bob Gra­ham (D-FL) and then-Demo­crat Richard Shelby (AL) — spent early and won.

— The com­mon thread here is party af­fil­i­ation. Pres­id­ent Obama‘s ap­prov­al rat­ings start the year hov­er­ing near re­cord-lows. And, as Charlie Cook writes, the “6-Year Itch” the­ory isn’t lack­ing for his­tor­ic­al evid­ence. Sen. Mark Pry­or (D-AR), like Hawkins 28 years ago, is both his party’s most vul­ner­able in­cum­bent seek­ing reelec­tion and the most ag­gress­ive in­cum­bent on the air so far. And the half-dozen TV ads Pry­or has run thus far are a test­a­ment to his vul­ner­ab­il­ity, not just test­ing a tac­tic.

— Early ads can have some lim­ited im­pact. A study of early-2012 TV ad­vert­ising in the pres­id­en­tial race found the ef­fects were very tem­por­ary and usu­ally can­celed out by the oth­er side. But in midterm races, when polls are in­fre­quent, and your op­pon­ent might not be on the air yet, cap­tur­ing a snap­shot of pub­lic opin­ion im­me­di­ately after a new ad can help with fun­drais­ing and oth­er per­cep­tion-driv­en goals. And with the pro­lif­er­a­tion of out­side-group ad spend­ing — like the Club for Growth in Pry­or’s case — can­did­ates and oth­er groups some­times need to go up earli­er just to fight to a draw.

Rothen­berg is right that the ads ul­ti­mately don’t mat­ter as much as the fun­da­ment­als of the race: party cues and per­cep­tion of the pres­id­ent. But with money flood­ing can­did­ates and out­side groups alike, com­bined with the dif­fu­sion of Amer­ic­ans’ me­dia us­age, early paid ad­vert­ising isn’t go­ing any­where.

What We're Following See More »
INCLUDES NY PROBE INTO MANAFORT
Why Yes, Mueller Is Looking into Trump Businesses
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."

Source:
FIRST TIME SINCE ITS CREATION
House Reauthorizes DHS
4 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The House voted Thursday to reauthorize the Department of Homeland Security. The bipartisan measure passed easily by a vote of 386-41, with nine Republicans and 32 Democrats voting in opposition. If the bill makes it through the Senate, it would be the first-ever reauthorization of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) since it was created in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks." Among the provisions it contains is a mandate that the Senate confirm the Secret Service director. It also boosts funding for the Urban Area Security Initiative by $195 million per year.

Source:
OPPONENTS SAY SHE SHOULD RESIGN
AFT’s Weingarten Likens Voucher Support to Segregation
4 hours ago
THE DETAILS

In remarks scheduled to be delivered today at the American Federation of Teachers' summer conference, President Randi Weingarten "likens U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to a climate-change denier" and "says the Trump administration's school choice plans are secretly intended to starve funding from public schools. She calls taxpayer-funded private school vouchers, tuition tax credits and the like 'only slightly more polite cousins of segregation.'" The pro-voucher Center for Education Reform said teachers should "consider inviting Weingarten’s resignation."

Source:
DESPITE EARLIER CRITICISM
Trump Has Confidence in Sessions
5 hours ago
THE LATEST

"President Trump has confidence in Attorney General Jeff Sessions, despite his criticism of the Justice Department head's decision to recuse himself from the Russia probe, the White House said Thursday. 'Clearly he has confidence in him or he would not be the attorney general,' spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters at an off-camera briefing."

Source:
REPORTEDLY TARGETS LGBT
ACLU Suing Trump Administration for Planned Executive Order
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Trump administration for records on an executive order President Trump reportedly planned to release targeting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Thursday, ACLU claimed the departments of Health and Human Services, Justice, Labor, and Treasury violated the Freedom of Information Act by failing to release the records it requested on the reported draft order."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login