Moore buried under TV ad barrage
Doug Jones and Roy Moore both released new television ads on Monday. But many Alabama voters will see only one of them.
That’s because of the massive disparity in TV ad spending between the two candidates in the Alabama special election to a Senate seat, where Jones, the Democratic candidate, is outspending Moore roughly 7-to-1.
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The imbalance is stunning, with just two weeks to go in the campaign: Jones has aired more than 10,000 spots on broadcast TV in Alabama since the primaries, while Moore, the embattled GOP candidate, has run just over 1,000, according to figures compiled by Advertising Analytics.
“I saw probably 40 to 50 Doug Jones ads, and I saw one Roy Moore ad” over the Thanksgiving break, said Daniel Deriso, an aide to Democratic Birmingham Mayor-elect Randall Woodfin.
Fueled by millions of online dollars pouring in to defeat Moore, Jones’ campaign has flooded the airwaves with over $5.6 million of TV ads overall during in the general election campaign. Moore has answered with about $800,000 in ad spending, according to Advertising Analytics.
Jones’ campaign built a big financial advantage even before women came forward accusing Moore of sexual misconduct in early November. He had more cash on hand at the end of the third-quarter Federal Election Commission reporting period — and a new campaign finance report from ActBlue, the widely used Democratic digital fundraising platform, shows Jones raised nearly $2.9 million online in October alone.
But the firestorm that ensued after numerous allegations surfaced against Moore galvanized even more financial support for Jones, giving him the resources to relentlessly pound Moore on-air as a child predator. He’s been able to cast himself as a pragmatic reformer and make a largely unanswered case to the moderate Republicans and suburban women who could determine the outcome of the election.
There’s been little answer from Moore. His numbers have faded in recent polls and, between the flood of ads and the allegations that have surfaced, Fox News’ surveys have shown voters growing more comfortable with Jones — and turning against Moore.
The barrage was particularly stark last weekend, when Jones’ campaign shelled out tens of thousands of dollars — which would have represented a significant share of Moore’s total advertising budget — just to buy expensive ads during and after the state’s much anticipated rivalry football game between Auburn and the University of Alabama.
Jones’ campaign spent at least $34,500 to run those ads during Iron Bowl broadcasts in Alabama’s three largest media markets, according to documents filed with the Federal Communication Commission. And the Democrat is slated to spend even more on ads next weekend, when Auburn competes in the Southeastern Conference championship game.
Jones’ ads have featured Republican critics of Moore, criticized the U.S. health care system and talked up his own nonpartisan credentials as a former federal prosecutor — all key ingredients for attracting votes from moderate Republicans and suburban women who may not have voted for a Democrat in years. Those voters need to feel comfortable voting for a Democrat, Jones allies said, in order to set the table for a once-unthinkable win in the December 12 special election.
“To win a statewide election you’re going to have to attract moderate Republicans,” Madison County Democratic Party Chairman Tom Ryan said, pointing to one recent Jones ad featuring quotes from Ivanka Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Sen. Richard Shelby, saying they believe Moore’s accusers. “If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for that voter.”
Jones’ campaign introduced a new theme in its TV ads Monday, when it started airing a new ad focused on education policy. Moore “compares preschool and early childhood education to Nazi indoctrination,” Jones says in the spot. The Democrat then adds that he would work “across party lines for preschool and smaller class sizes.”
Moore’s campaign announced its own ad, bashing Republican and Democratic congressional leaders and calling the sexual misconduct allegations against him “false.” That ad questioned the timing of the allegations and suggested that an alliance of “liberal elites and the Republican establishment” were working together to bring down Moore and protect “their Big-Government trough.”
But Moore’s campaign does not have the resources to air that ad as widely as Jones’ spots calling attention to the accusations. The Democratic campaign has also run ads featuring Republicans saying they cannot support Moore and instead pledging to vote for Jones.
A key part of Jones’ strategy in the past few weeks is to make clear to Alabama voters that he is willing to reach across the aisle and work with Republicans, said Jones campaign chairman Giles Perkins.
“I think a lot of the voters … are interested in a guy like Doug that’s willing to reach across the aisle and work with anybody that’s got good ideas, and some of these ads communicate that,” Perkins said.
A new super PAC, Highway 31, has amplified that message for Jones in the last month of the campaign. The group, which has not yet had to disclose its donors, has spent $1.35 million backing Jones and attacking Moore so far, producing digital ads and a TV ad centered on Jones’ record as a U.S. attorney and describing him as a “strong defender of the Second Amendment.”
Moore has not had the same outside help at his disposal, but his campaign has claimed a smaller fundraising spike as the special election draws near.
The media blitz by the Jones campaign comes as the next FEC filing reports are set to come out later in the week. Even with advertising tilted heavily toward Jones, Alabama Democrats don’t expect Moore to stop attacking him, especially by linking Jones to national leaders of his party who are highly unpopular in Alabama.
“I anticipate the Moore campaign is going to start stepping up their ads, and it’s probably going be some version of ‘Obama, Pelosi and Clinton’ — we’re not them, so vote for me,'” Ryan said.
via Politico http://politi.co/2lnbIsw
November 27, 2017 at 04:03PM