Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 24, 2014

Campaign Spot-Light: The Only Job Worse Than Being an Incumbent, Cheap Dads and Alligator Wrestling (Video)

Welcome to the second edition of Roll Call’s feature that highlights the most interesting political ads of the week.

Here is what cut through the clutter:

What’s Worse Than Being an Incumbent? Bein’ a Trial Law-yur

The first half of the montage features ads attacking tea party challengers as “trial lawyers.” Incumbents and friendly super PACs are making the calculation that labeling a tea party insurgent as a “trial lawyer” is a more lethal attack line than “Washington insider.”

Ad #1 buyer: Ralph Hall for Congress
Ad buy: Six-figures, according to a campaign spokeswoman.
The race: Texas Rep. Ralph M. Hall is fending off a challenge from former U.S. Attorney John Ratcliffe in a runoff for the 4th District GOP nod. Ratcliffe fired shots with his own ad this week that underscored the 91-year-old Hall’s age.

Ad #2 buyer: U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Ad buy: This March ad was part of $200,000 the group has spent against attorney Bryan Smith over the past several months, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
The race: Smith is challenging Boehner-ally Rep. Mike Simpson in the May 20 GOP primary in Idaho’s 2nd District. This is a Safe Republican seat.

Ad #3 buyer: Mississippi Conservatives super PAC
Ad buy: A three-week, statewide buy back in January, per The New York Times.
The race: State Sen. Chris McDaniel, an attorney, is challenging six-term Sen. Thad Cochran in the Magnolia State’s GOP primary.

My Dad is Cheap

The back half of the video runs through a handful of Republican ads featuring the children of candidates touting fiscal conservative bona fides — in their homes. In faux spilling-the-family-secrets-testimonials, we learn that candidates re-purpose food containers for Tupperware, reject allowance raises and even remove stitches at home to reduce medical costs.

Ad #4 buyer: Friends of Jack Kingston
Ad buy: In the “mid-six figures,” according to a previous CQ Roll Call report.
The race: Rep. Jack Kingston (who still hands out Kingston for Congress bumper stickers) is in a crowded May 20 GOP primary in the open-seat Georgia Senate race to replace retiring Republican Saxby Chambliss. The likely Democratic nominee is former Points of Light Foundation CEO Michelle Nunn.

Ad #5 buyer: Jacobs for Iowa
Ad buy: It was a substantial 1,000-point buy, according to the campaign of Mark Jacobs, a former energy executive.
The race: Jacobs is in a crowded June 3 GOP primary race to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa. Republican rivals include state Sen. Joni Ernst, former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker and radio talk show host Sam Clovis. The winner will take on Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley.

Ad #6 buyer: Mike McFadden for U.S. Senate
Ad buy: The campaign declined to comment on the buy size. The Star Tribune reported this week that “none of the broadcast stations have files showing that McFadden’s campaign has bought air time.”
The race: McFadden is running for the GOP nod to take on Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota in the fall. The race is rated Safe Democrat.

See Ya Later Alligator…

And finally, there was this terrifying political ad:

Ad buyer: Friends of Colonel Rob Maness
Ad buy: It is part of a $50,000 radio and TV buy, according to a campaign spokesman.
The race: Maness is one of several Republican candidates aiming to oust Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana from office.

A reptile-wrestler promises to use his skills to tame the East Coast big city? We feel like we’ve seen that movie before …

 

Emily Cahn and Alexis Levinson contributed to this report.

Have an ad you think we should see? Email us here with “Political Ad” in the subject line.

If you are a consultant, please include media buy info if available. There’s a warm seat in Roll Call hell for those who portray Web videos without any cash behind them as television ads. If you are a voter and noticed an interesting spot, please describe it and tell us the program and network where you saw it run.

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