How to Tell Voters Their Congressman Is Old
Posted at 5 a.m. on March 21, 2014
Rep. Ralph M. Hall, R-Texas, is really old.
And in case northeast Texas voters don’t know that already, a GOP super PAC wants to remind them.
Now or Never PAC released an advertisement Thursday that featured disco music, a picture of President Jimmy Carter and a narrator declaring, “Now he’s 90, the oldest member in Congress ever!”
Hall is in a dogfight of a runoff against another Republican, attorney John Ratcliff, on May 27.
Ratcliffe, who is not associated with the ad, denied in a recent interview with Roll Call that he was making Hall’s age an issue in the race. But he has alluded to the topic, running a biographical ad that used the word “new” five times.
A spokesman for the super PAC was unable to verify how much money the group put behind the ad, but a GOP source tracking ad buys estimated it to be at least $40,000.
Political ads that underscore a candidate’s advanced age through dated music and images are nothing new. But they haven’t been that successful, either.
In 2010, California Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman aired a similar ad against Democrat Jerry Brown. The ad opened with 1960s music and images of a vinyl record player.
In 2012, American Action Network, a center-right outside group, revisited the concept with an ad against now-Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., who served in Congress in the 1970s. The ad resembles the anti-Hall spot, featuring disco images and music.
Other popular ad trends we’ve noticed this cycle: Daughters pitching for their fathers and the barn jacket fashion craze.
Clarification: This post has been updated to clarify American Action Network is a 501(c)(4) outside group.