Gilmore's First Ad (Updated)
As reported in Monday's Washington Post, Republican Senate Candidate James S. Gilmore III has begun airing his first campaign commercial.
In the ad, which is airing in television markets downstate but not in Northern Virginia, a narrator criticizes Democratic Candidate Mark R. Warner and seeks to link him to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). Gilmore tries to associate himself with Arizona Sen. John McCain, the Republican nominee for president.
The Virginia Republican Party is paying for the ad, but Gilmore authorized it.
Democratic strategists describe the ad, which won't be released to the media until today, as a meager $80,000 buy, but it still underscores the following eight points:
1) Gilmore is still having trouble raising money because the state party, not his campaign, is paying for the ad, according to GOP officials.
2) Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick (R-Prince William), the chairman of the Virginia Republican Party, has decided the GOP cannot afford either politically or morally to sit back and let Gilmore get clobbered in the Nov. 4 election.
3) State GOP officials and strategists believe Gilmore can try to latch onto whatever momentum and enthusiasm has been created by the selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as Sen. John McCain's running mate.
4) By focusing their limited resources targeting voters downstate instead of in vote-rich Northern Virginia, Republicans still don't think Gilmore has locked up the conservative base. Gilmore's ad, for example, aired Sunday morning on a Richmond television station that was broadcasting a religious service.
5) The state GOP, which had only $142,000 in its federal account as of July 31, is confident that the national party will finance McCain's get-out-the vote efforts.
6) If Gilmore gains even a few points in the polls this week because of the ad, he will be able to go to GOP donors and ask for more money to launch more ads.
7) Gilmore's ad may get a lot of free media coverage today because many reporters will be surprised he's managed to find a way to get on the air, even though he had just $116,000 in the bank on June 30.
8) With Warner sitting on $5 million, Gilmore and the state GOP may have just unleashed a monster. Warner has been off the air since early August, but expect him to hit back continuously until Election Day if he feels Gilmore's ad is too harsh.
September 8, 2008; 2:20 PM ET
Categories: Campaign Ads , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , James Gilmore III , Mark Warner , Tim Craig
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