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TV and the Governor's Race


After five weeks of broadcasting TV commercials to break the ice with Baltimore voters, Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan's campaign told supporters this week that its media strategy is working and that "momentum is on our side."

So it was curious to Duncan's Democratic rival, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, that his opponent would choose to sign off the air just as the mayor was making his TV debut. O'Malley's ads -- which are also limited to the Baltimore market -- portray him as a champion for families facing steep increases in their electricity bills.

To the mayor's campaign, it was a sign that Duncan's campaign has run into financial difficulties. "He's out of money [and] off the air," said O'Malley spokesman Rick Abbruzzese. "The primary isn't until September, but I'm sure there's a plan in there somewhere."

Not so, said camp Duncan. They never planned to be on the air in June when schools are letting out for the summer and fewer viewers are paying attention, said Duncan spokeswoman Jody Couser.

"It's a shame that the O'Malley campaign couldn't get their act together in time for May sweeps when television audiences are at such high levels," she said.

Still, Duncan's campaign manager, Scott Arceneaux, said in an e-mail to supporters that "television advertisements are extremely expensive to purchase. That's why we need your financial support today."

Perhaps someone forgot to remind the candidate of that message. After addressing entreprenuers in Chevy Chase yesterday, Duncan thanked the audience and took his seat. Then, in what looked like an afterthought, he asked the business people to visit his Web site to offer their financial support.

Ann E. Marimow

By Phyllis Jordan  |  June 9, 2006; 6:50 AM ET
Categories:  Governor  
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