Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 17, 2014

Daily Ad Track

Campaigns, committees and outside groups are flooding the airwaves with negative television ads. A common hit to those who have held public office is a vote to increase one’s own salary.

American Action Network, a Republican super PAC, announced this morning that it was targeting four House races — California’s 10th, Minnesota’s 8th, New Hampshire’s 1st and New York’s 27th. The new ads released will have $5 million behind them, and more money and ads are expected to come in the closing weeks.

But it was a rare positive ad that best cut through the clutter today:

North Dakota Senate

This new statewide broadcast ad, which features former state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp (D) swinging away at a batting cage, created angst among female members of the Washington press corps who participate in the annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game.

The game annually pits female reporters against female Members. The Member roster is postured to lose its best hitter in Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.), who was recently named Roll Call’s most endangered incumbent. If Heitkamp is able to pull out her Tossup race against Rep. Rick Berg (R), it is a safe bet to assume that two of her first congratulatory calls will be coming from Member team captains Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) looking to recruit her for their team.

Wasserman Schultz, who does double duty as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, jokingly tweeted on the ad, “I cannot confirm nor deny that batting average is a question on our candidate recruitment forms!”

National

Hollywood is getting the band back together.

It is no secret that Hollywood enthusiasm for President Barack Obama has waned as compared with four years ago. But over the weekend, the Obama campaign released a new Morgan Freeman-narrated television ad,  and it was announced that Bruce Springsteen is hitting the trail. Comedian Sarah Silverman is back to making controversial Web videos. And now, MoveOn.org released a Rob Reiner-directed ad featuring actresses Scarlett Johansson, Eva Longoria and Kerry Washington discussing women’s issues. The ad is airing in Virginia and Colorado with six figures behind it.

All three of the actresses addressed the Democratic National Convention in early September. Whether movie stars and entertainers are effective campaigners is an open question. George Clooney proved to be a fundraising juggernaut for Obama earlier in the campaign, but often, when stars enter the political fray, they risk alienating fans who hold differing political opinions.

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