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Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Kerry Ad Buy Hints at Battleground Locations

Posted by DavidNYC

The Kerry campaign is now set to spend two-thirds of its post-RNC cash on ad buys - $50m of the $75m they'll get in public financing, which is all the cash they'll have (except for any change that was still on-hand prior to the DNC) until election day. The first ads are slated to go up in seven states: OH on Friday, then FL, IA, NM, PA, NH and WI next week. Four of those states are Gore states, and a fifth (NH) ought to be considered a Kerry state. So this means we're playing defense, which isn't necessarily a bad sign, but isn't necessarily a good one, either.

Kerry's being very smart about this ad buy, though: He's purchasing the ads now, while prices are still cheap, as the article points out - but he can always adjust his buys later, if need be. So this means the campaign is already buying ads for thirteen other states, even though they won't air until later this fall. The Gore states: MN, OR, WA, ME and MI. The Bush states: MO, NV, AZ, LA, CO, AR, NC and WV. A bit frustratingly, Virginia isn't on this list, even though Kerry's already spent $2.5 mil there. I don't understand why you'd stick with LA over VA, given what the polls show. But maybe Kerry will change his mind, or maybe the 527s will step up the plate here.

(Thanks to reader Chris.)

Posted at 09:59 PM in General | Technorati


Louisiana is winnable, Virginia is not,
thats why. The problem in Louisiana is
voter turnout, and simple ignorance of
political realities. Louisiana's 9
electoral votes would have turned the tide
in 2000, and might possibly do it this
time. A democratic senator and governor
have been elected since 2000, and the
south of the state is overwhelmingly
Catholic, I believe these Catholics are
very unsettled by the Bush agenda. DOnt
give up on Louisiana.

Posted by: tom sunseri at September 2, 2004 06:19 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment


I think you hit it on the head - "527s will step up to the plate".

This could end up being very damaging to the Kerry campaign legally. They have bought ads in every swing state except VA, right?

When 527s step up and advertise in VA it will look awfully suspicious. I mean, Kerry has only so much money. How co-ordinated will it look when Kerry benefits from advertising in a state he couldn't afford to buy ads in?

Posted by: danheskett at September 2, 2004 08:24 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I've said this before: VIRGINIA IS A FAR MORE EXPENSIVE MEDIA MARKET THAN ARKANSAS OR LOUISIANA. LA has one big metro area (New Orleans) and it's not that big; nothing in Arkansas is even New Orleans size. If you want to cover Virginia with ads, on the other hand, you have to think about Richmond and Norfolk/Hampton Roads/Virginia Beach-- two good-sized metro areas that vote Republican-- and Northern Virginia, where the lode of Democrats are: that's in the Washington, DC media market, where everything costs a ton, and the value for money on those ad buys is awful-- most of the viewers are actually in DC and MD. Good decision by JFK, I think.

Posted by: accommodatingly at September 2, 2004 09:35 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment


Good point, but all of the 527 ads from both sides look coordinated. I have a feeling that they will not exist next time round, especially if Bush wins. I mean how dare the Dems use soft money tactics...That is copyrighted by the GOP.

As far as the coordination in VA, 1) you have to prove it 2) It might be legal coordination... in other words, the Kerry camp isn't telling the 527s when and where to do things, but by announcing plans EARLY, they let the 527s look at Polls and say, "OK lets help here" I assume we will also see them in the big swing states such as PA, MI, WI, MO, OH, FL and IA. This is similiar to the ROve sleeper cell theory of attack ads...I personally think once the election is over, they should start investigating the biggest GOP threats (McCain, Guilliani (Why in gods name would we elect a guy for President who has only been a mayor.), Frist etc.), get some good attack ads ready, set up the fringe groups way in advance and then create a sleeper signal. All done in advance, all LEGAL (questionable but I think follows the letter of the law) and a great way to combat the Elephant Menace lurking out there.

Posted by: Michael at September 2, 2004 10:19 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I just don't see how LA can be thought of as "more winnable" than VA when polls show Kerry far behind in LA but very close in VA. I'm willing to listen to other arguments, but it's hard to come up with anything more persuasive than polls.

Posted by: DavidNYC at September 2, 2004 12:56 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I'm glad that Kerry hasn't completely given up on AR, WV, CO, or LA.

However, I wish he'd stop being put on the defense and go on the offense. Remember, "it's the economy, stupid!"

I've suggested to MoveOn that they run ads attacking Bush's flip-flopping.

Can you believe Zell Miller? That's the most vitriolic keynote speech I've ever seen! Now compare with our keynote speaker, Barack Obama...

Posted by: Nathaniel at September 2, 2004 12:59 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Kerry can't use the money that he still had at the time of the Democratic convention. That went to the DNC.

I'm a little disappointed too that Kerry's playing defense, not offense at this stage.

Posted by: erg at September 2, 2004 01:10 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

A 527 taking advantage of publicly available information (Kerry's ad buy) isn't "coordination", it's simply behaving rationally based on the information it has.

I suspect that's the entire reason why the ad buy was made public, or leaked, or whatever, to eliminate tjhe very *need* for coordination. No reasonable interpretation of the law would possibly require a 527 not to take notice of public information or behave as if it didn't know what it (legally and legitimately) knows.

Now, if Kerry were to suddenly buy spot time in Virginia, and a 527 advertising there was to cut back its ads there at the very same time (and not in response to an announced *intention* to cut back) *that* would be coordination.

If everyone has the same information, and the same goal, and operates on the same principles, no conspiracy or coordination is needed, it's just like plugging data into an algorithm.

Posted by: Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) at September 2, 2004 01:14 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment


You lawyers and your "Proof" and "valid arguements"...Whatever happened to good old BS rhetoric and opinion...Isn't that how murder trials work in Texas ;-)

Seriously, I think the money is spent better elsewhere but here is why i think he is doing it... (possibilities...not all 3)

1) Its cheaper airtime and if it does a little damage it may force Bush to spend in those states.

2) He is considering sending Edwards or Clinton into those areas and this is to help bolster the message.

3) It is a bluff and he will pull the ads before the money is spent. They expect him to buy in close states but not in these states so he may pull the ads and then hit VA.

I don't think he can win LA or VA (and I doubt Arkansas) but I am hoping he can put Bush on the defensive.

That or his advisors are idiots...

Posted by: Michael at September 2, 2004 02:05 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Could Virginia be a sleeper waiting to happen?

I really enjoy reading your comments which are very informative and well thought out. You have to remember that political strategists have a myriad of polls, including internal polls, that determine their decisions. Campaigning and rallying the base are very important, especially if you have some important Democratic office holders in each state.

I would stress that Ohio is extremely important for Kerry/Edwards to win for one overlooked reason. Ohio and California are the only two states not using those dreaded voting machines.

No Tennessee buys? That's interesting.

Kerry appears to be a defensive politician, responding to those attack ads, and this scares me. He's been offensively attacking policy, not the politician, but I wish he would be more of a gutter fighter!

Posted by: Shar at September 2, 2004 02:37 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Yeah, it's a shame he's not hitting TN. The latest Zogby poll shows HIM ahead there! AR is also extremely close, which is why I wish he'd use Clinton to his advantage.

OH doesn't have machines? Thank God!!! It doesn't matter whether they steal FL if we can get OH!

I hope we're registering voters in the Cleveland area. I've heard that northeastern OH is very Democratic and more like PA, while southern OH is more like KY. I also hope we're registering voters in the Miami, FL area.

Yeah, does anyone know about registering projects in Democratic areas? I don't think we should overlook Democratic areas of Republican states, either...eastern OK, Raleigh-Durham in NC, the San Antonio area of TX...it can't hurt, anyway.

I'm afraid that Kerry may be missing the forest for the trees...obsessed so much with OH, he's forgetting about possibilities in AR, TN, MO, WV, CO, NV...

Ah well. I hear Bush has a "surprise" in his speech tonight...that's a little worrying. If Kerry can start getting smart about this campaign, I'm not worried. Otherwise, I'll just call this 1988.

Posted by: Nathaniel at September 2, 2004 05:53 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Kerry really can win TN. I'm thinking that he didn't want to show his hand too early there, and that's why he's not advertising at the moment. If he wins TN, he stands a very, very good chance of winning this election.

Question: Has Kerry called Clinton to campaign in AR yet?

Posted by: Robert Marlye at September 2, 2004 08:46 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Remember the 527s aren't just about ads. The GOP doesn't have an ACT type organization on the ground registering voters and doing voter education in the battleground states. ACT has been helping Kerry and the DNC, doing all the groundwork. I can see why Hastert and his ilk are lying about George Soros.

Posted by: pc at September 3, 2004 10:46 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Btw, ACT works independently of Kerry and DNC.

Posted by: pc at September 3, 2004 12:42 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

CO, LA, and NC have close Senate races this year which means Kerry can piggy-back on/work with those GOTV operations. VA and TN have zip even if their polls are closer. That's the distinction I see.

Posted by: Brittain33 at September 3, 2004 01:15 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

After Labor Day I'm on the campaign trail again, visiting and writing about the swing states for Intervention Mag. Does anyone have any good article ideas? What states and what to focus on, even who to interview? I'm open to suggestions.

Posted by: Stewart Nusbaumer at September 3, 2004 01:44 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

LA is definately winnable. All Kerry has to do is energize the New Orleans vote, which was not the case for Gore in 2000.

In a state that is rich with Blacks, Cajuns, Catholics and urbanites in New Orleans, it's undoubtedly the reason why Kerry chose LA to win in November.

Plus he can count on John Breaux(maybe), Mary Landrieu and Gov. Blanco to campaign for him.

John Edwards, in the case of the South Carolina Democratic primary, is good at energizing the Liberal base in the south. I just don't know why Kerry/Edwards stopped in Tennessee!

Posted by: Victor at September 3, 2004 06:04 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Kerry would be wise to spend more time and money in PA, IO, WI and MN, which are all states that are looking increasingly purple--and in the case of Wisconsin, red. He cannot afford to lose any of those states. In my view, any money he spends in the South is money wasted. He will not win in NC, VA, LA, TN or AR, and FL is looking more remote, too. He should win all of the Gore states, but there seems to be a palpable shift taking place in the Upper Midwest that needs Kerry's attention right now. I don't see Clinton doing any campaigning in AR or anywhere else in the South due to his heart problems. As I said in another thread, Bush must be the luckiest man on the planet.

Posted by: Pepe at September 3, 2004 06:26 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

It isn't a bad idea to play defense right now. simply by carrying the Gore states plus NH puts Kerry at 264 Electoral votes while he makes a play for Ohio and Florida with either one being sufficient for victory. Game over.

From a PR standpoint with regards to media coverage the most damaging thing for Kerry would be to fall behind in a Gore state and give Bush momentum. Wisconsin and Iowa are likely candidates right now. Better to consolidate his hold on WI, IA, PA, MN and MI and work to pick off one of the big prizes (FL and OH) than to run ad blitzes In Louisiana, Arkansas and Virginia to come close and discover too late that Bush has gained the upper hand in the Upper Midwest Gore states and Pennsylvania.

Play for the most efficient victory possible and only go for the throat if and when it becomes apparent that victory is almost certain. First assure victory...then work on making it a landslide.

Posted by: Keith Brekhus at September 4, 2004 12:41 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

The gloves are off! I already feel better. Keith, your strategy was interesting and well written, but you can't just play a defensive game. You have to score points to win.

What Kerry has to do is loosen up some more during his rallies and campaign stops, smile, and become very Clintonesque. He's getting better, btw. John Edwards is so good, he's a natural.
I really enjoyed watching the Springfield, Ohio, rally on C-Span Thursday night, and Nathaniel, you will be pleased to know that Dennis Kucinich, a Cleveland, Ohio congressman, was sharing the stage with Kerry and Edwards.

My advice to Kerry and Edwards; turn on that old Clinton charm and attack, attack, attack!

Here is a question I would love to have answered:
Why is the mainstream media doing everything in its power to assure another Bush victory?

My prayers and best wishes are with President Clinton and here's hoping for his speedy recovery so that he can hit the campaign trail.

Posted by: Shar at September 4, 2004 03:15 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Keith, I agree completely with you, which should come as no surprise. You don't pour money into places like LA , AR, and VA when states that are supposedly yours (PA, WI, IO, MN, and MI) suddenly show serious signs of shifting to the other side. The Kerry campaign needs to go defensive and ensure that they don't lose a single Gore state (and I assume that NH is safely Kerry's this year). In addition to that, the only offensive they need to make is to win just one of the "Big Three": MO, OH, or FL. If all the Gore states + NH vote Kerry, and Kerry wins one of the Big Three, he wins. I positively hate the idea of wasting money in places like VA or LA when that money could be spent in the Upper Midwest, PA, and of course, the Big Three.

Posted by: Pepe at September 4, 2004 08:25 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

"CO, LA, and NC have close Senate races this year which means Kerry can piggy-back on/work with those GOTV operations. VA and TN have zip even if their polls are closer. That's the distinction I see."

This is EXACTLY the strategy. Even MO is a winnable Senate race if the Bushies get discouraged and don't turn out. And Senate seats in WI and NC need coattails, the GOP is spending a lot there. I think the idea is that if he wins but doesn't take over the Senate, it'll be a long first two years. I agree that he needs to shore up the upper midwest, and attack in MO and PA, to turn those solid, they're both tossups right now. I would not write off AR, either.

With some surprising Senate contests in GoP strongholds OK and AK, Kerry could actually come in with a Senate majority if he has any coattails in CO and PA (Hoeffel isn't as far behind as polls would indicate, and Toomey loonies are going to stay home if it looks like Kerry is going to win).

Play defense, assure victory, then go for the kill, indeed. If they play this right, they might even put the House back close to even, which would give them effective control when you count the votes of GOP pragmatists and remove the fear of Rove from their voting patterns. Especially if they start out with a budget-balancing proposal.

So Kerry might as well go for broke and try to force Bush into having to protect some states he didn't want to bother with. As you can see, there used to be only 12 states in play, now it's 20, Bush has to be worried, since in most of those he is losing ground from 2000, and if Kerry solidifies his "likelies", Bush then has to run the table in the others, FL or not.

Posted by: vrdolyak at September 9, 2004 09:28 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Of the following former Bush states, which one do you think is the most likely to swing in November?

First the big three: OH, MO, FL

The West: AZ, CO, NV

My answer would be: FL and NV

Finally, of the following, which Gore state do you think is most likely to swing for Bush?:


My gut feeling is it's WI. I know MI has been reasonably blue all summer long, but I do worry about it on Election Day, since it's one of the states that will have a MO-like referendum on gay marriage--and you all remember what happened there. The fundamentalists and conservatives came out in droves. This referendum will also be on the Election Day ballots of Oregon, Ohio, Arkansas--and several other states as well.

Posted by: Pepe at September 10, 2004 06:55 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Looks like WI is going red unless GOTV efforts in Madison trounce the upstaters, although it's close enough to go either way, and if GOP voters get discouraged of a Bush loss, it would definitely stay with Kerry. All the rest of the blue states are safe.

I think that AZ and OH are lost causes, maybe a lot of pollution-related brain damage in the Ohio River Valley, but despite high unemployment, it's going Bush, even though the usual Cincinnati GOP juggernaut is apparently not enthusiastic. AZ has too few Hispanics at this point to make a difference.

I see FL and NV swinging to Kerry in the next few weeks, with one caveat, in FL Nader will be a non-factor but if he stays on the ballot in NV, it could be enough to cause a Bush win. MO and CO are both on the edge, CO more likely, but MO will go if Bush is looking slow. (pardon the bad poetry). I think Kerry should try to pump money into MO and see if he can solidify it, since Nader's off the ballot there and enthusiasm for Bush also is lacking there, only staunch party affiliation in the rural areas is saving him right now, if turnout is not there, he'll lose and the Senate seat could turn into an upset victory for the Dems as well.

I think correlating the Kerry buys with the "nader on the ballot or not" scenario also provides a bit of an insight, they're not spending as much in red states where he might get traction.

Posted by: vrdolyak at September 11, 2004 04:49 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment