This week, two ads were released supposedly supporting Senator Kay Hagan. One works. One doesn’t.

An environmental SuperPAC called Southern Alliance for Clean Energy released an ad that supports Hagan and touts her accomplishments protecting North Carolina’s water and air. In light of the recent Dan River spill, it’s a good message. It also begins to educate voters about Hagan’s record.

The second ad, though, is the type that voters tune out. It’s also not about Hagan. It’s about Thom Tillis. It’s a pedestrian effort that looks and feels like hundreds of other generic attack ads. Ominous music and a disembodied voice tell us that the evil Koch Brothers have picked Thom Tillis to be their surrogate. They mention that Tillis gave tax cuts for rich people while raising taxes on 80% of North Carolinians and then launch into all the bad things he’ll do as a U. S. Senator. It’s not believable and it doesn’t address Hagan’s weaknesses.

Right now, Hagan is suffering because of almost $10 million in ads bashing her. Her approval ratings are upside down and one poll has her negatives above 50%. That’s serious danger territory. She desperately needs somebody to make the case for her. That’s what the environmental ad starts to do–address her approval ratings, not her potential opponent.

Throughout 2013, Hagan did a great job of paying attention to the state, particularly it’s veterans and military. Now, voters need to hear about it. We need ads that thank her for her work on behalf of military families and disabled veterans. There are plenty of headlines to back up the claims. Don’t let that hard-earned media go to waste.

While some of her base may not like it, Hagan was ranked most moderate Senator. Another way you could read that is independent and willing to work across the aisle. Somebody should make the case that Hagan votes with her party and president when it’s in the best of interest of North Carolina but agrees to disagree when it’s not. She’s not just toeing the party line; she’s fighting for her constituents.

Finally, the American for Prosperity ads were effective because they use real people telling stories. Some are actors, some are not, but at least the viewers can see who is delivering the message. The messengers are the women on the screen talking to women in their living rooms and they look believable. Even if the women in the ads are not telling the truth, most voters will never know that because they don’t read PolitiFact or any other fact checker. It may be shameless to lie to the camera but it’s certainly more effective than a disembodied voice trying to scare voters.

Right now, Hagan desperately needs somebody to tell her story and her record. She’s ill-defined and AFP is defining her. Instead of educating voters about what she’s done and why, Senate Majority PAC has decided to spend millions of dollars to demonize a guy who might not even be on the ballot in November. What a waste of resources.

1 Comment

  1. geek49203

    Well, to be honest, the “throw grandma from the cliff” ads circa 2010 weren’t exactly factually accurate either, and I’m betting those were actors in those ads. Pretty sure that the 2012 ads claiming that Romney would take away government checks to people — as foreseen in that “47%” comment — wasn’t accurate either. So can we at least say this is common practice?

    Kay has a few basic problems that her staff needs to address:

    1. The Dem state org is in complete disarray.

    2. Obamacare is a train wreck, and Dems have yet to decide whether their talking point is to say “there is nothing wrong and it’s a great plan ‘cept where the Republicans messed it up” or “Hey, it is a start, and trust us, we’ll fix it.” Therefore the message is muddled. Kay needs to pick one and go with it, and probably that latter one is the best message.

    3. Kay’s staff — far from the claims of this article — isn’t doing good constituent services. So, true or not, the campaign must center on how much she really does care and really does get government to work for NC citizens.

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