This is the post we have been dying to write for months — the meanest, most vicious, most depraved House and Senate political advertisements we were able to track down over the past year.
There is a certain art form to the knock-your-socks-off nasty ad. In this record breaking year, it takes more than ominous music, an indignant voice-over and grainy, unflattering, black-and-white footage to break out of the pack.
But there is a line, and a campaign can go too far. Some ads break through the clutter brilliantly and some have backfired in epic fashion.
For better or worse, the following ads broke through the clutter this year. Daisy, “Harold, call me” and Willie Horton almost seem quaint.
10. Arizona Senate
Group sponsoring the ad: Jeff Flake for Senate and the National Republican Senatorial Committee
Candidate attacked: Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona (D)
Most awkward employee yearly review ever?
9. New Jersey 3
Group sponsoring the ad: Shelley Adler for Congress
Candidate attacked: Rep. Jon Runyan (R)
Adler compares Runyan to Hurricane Sandy in a radio ad. Too soon. If ever.
8. Missouri Senate
Group sponsoring the ad: McCaskill for Missouri 2012
Candidate attacked: Rep. Todd Akin (R)
A victim of sexual assault slams Akin. The only reason this one is not rated higher is because we saw it coming a mile away.
7. Michigan Senate
Group sponsoring the ad: Hoekstra for Senate
Candidate attacked: Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D)
So over the top that we could not even find it on Pete Hoekstra’s YouTube channel anymore.
6. California 30
Group sponsoring the ad: Berman for Congress
Candidate attacked: Rep. Brad Sherman (D)
Valley resident Mr. Miyagi could not have crafted a better political karate chop.
5. Wisconsin Senate
Group sponsoring the ad: Tommy Thompson for Senate
Candidate attacked: Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D)
Using 9/11 to paint one’s opponent as weak and unpatriotic feels so 2002.
4. Florida 18
Group sponsoring the ad: Allen West for Congress
Candidate attacked: Businessman Patrick Murphy (D)
West’s charges against Murphy pale in comparison to the others on this list, but the execution of this ad was flawless.
3. Rhode Island 1
Group sponsoring the ad: National Republican Congressional Committee
Candidate attacked: Rep. David Cicilline (D)
Extra nasty points for jamming the words “child molester,” “murderer,” “violent attacker” and the candidate’s name in the first seven seconds.
2. Colorado 6
Group sponsoring the ad: House Majority PAC
Candidate attacked: Rep. Mike Coffman (R)
Versions of this ad aired against several House and Senate Republican candidates. The tone has the sincerity of a public service announcement and the political instincts of Lee Atwater.
1. Nastiest Ad of the Cycle: Arizona Senate
Group sponsoring the ad: Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee