Tue October 28, 2008
Mississippi Senate Race Ad Watch
By Sara Sciammacco, Capitol News Connection
Washington, DC – Voters watching their favorite shows have being having a hard time tuning out the mudslinging during commercial breaks. Candidates are throwing jab after jab on the TV screen. Here's one of the latest ads put out by the Democrats against incumbent Roger Wicker.
WICKER AD: "All the name calling and attacks won't change the facts. Roger Wicker voted 9 times to raise his own pay.
A spokesperson for the Wicker campaign says the Democrats are using obscure procedural votes in the Senate as part of their tactics. Amy Mitchell is with the Pew Research Center in Washington. She says bold writing and frightening music in negative ads make them effective.
They remember it. It is something that sticks and they might not be happy about it they might say we wish we didn't have these ads. Much of the research shows those kinds of images and messages do resonate with the public, Mitchell said.
Wicker has been serving as Mississippi's Senator since 2007. He was appointed by the Governor to fill the seat left by Senator Trent Lott. On the airwaves, Wicker has swung just as hard at challenger Ronnie Musgrove.
MUSGROVE AD: So proud of his record as Governor. He turned a 230 million dollar budget surplus into a deficit.
A spokesperson says the Wicker campaign hasn't been able to back up the claim with documentation. Neither campaign takes the blame for being the first to change the tone of the race. Wicker's camp began putting out ads in the spring, while Musgrove's camp began in the summer. Adam Bozzi is Musgrove's communications director.
Not only Roger Wicker but there are about 6 Washington special interests groups running character attacks as well that are way over the line I mean there is just no place in politics for those types of attacks," Bozzi said.
Wicker has spent nearly four million dollars in the race, while Musgrove has spent a half million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Polls show Wicker is favored to win the race but by a narrow margin. Mississippi State University's Marty Wiseman.
The democratic candidate is faced with knitting together that conservative white democratic vote with the African American democratic vote and getting them all to the polls. When they can do that they are pretty much an even match with the Republican vote in the state, Wiseman said.
Wiseman says this race has been close partly because the well-known candidates both have had electoral success and agree on a lot of things.
They are so much alike ideological they are both anti- abortion pro gun all the way down the line if you had a check list they would both hold the same position, even room together when they were in the Mississippi legislature for some time. They have had difficulty and the only thing left is to attack personalities," Wiseman said.
In the meantime, Mississippi voters will have to sit through another few days of these political ads. Both campaigns are likely to ramp up their ad buys as Election day nears.