Statewide Candidates Take To TV To Spread Message

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October 27, 2014 — Thestatehousefile.com

INDIANAPOLIS – With no race of national interest on the ballot in Indiana, the TV ad wars that accompany most election seasons have been largely missing.

But the men and women running for state treasurer, auditor and secretary of state are trying to fill the void and nab voters’ attention.

Five of the six major party candidates have spots on the air – some focused on Indianapolis and others on cable and network TV around the state.

Beth White, the Democrat running for secretary of state, and Suzanne Crouch, the Republican trying to hold on to her position as state auditor, were the first to go up on TV – and both are using a signature personal trait to help voters remember them.

For White, it’s her small stature. Her ad pokes fun at her height with lines about how “shorter is better” in terms of waits to obtain small business licensees and shorter leashes on investment fraud.

Her campaign manager, Chris Becker, says the commercial has people talking.

“One of the things people respond to it is that it’s a positive ad. It’s light hearted, it’s funny and it still has some substantive things in there that the secretary of state’s office does,” Becker said. “It gets your attention. It’s been received really well.”

Crouch, meanwhile, is using her signature red glasses to help voters remember her. The glasses have been a big part of her campaign – she even passes out empty red frames to voters – and she carried the theme into her TV commercial.

“When you see the red glasses, remember Suzanne Crouch is looking out for you,” the ad says.

Crouch is facing Democrat Mike Claytor, who has a 30-second ad on cable networks throughout the state focusing on “the cost of government corruption” and the fact that he is not a politician, but simply an accountant.

But Claytor is not just using the video on TV. He said the internet is providing more options for using the ads. The campaign is employing what he called “pop-up” ads, including those that precede a news video, something he said he hasn’t seen statewide candidates doing in Indiana previously.

“I think that’s going to be something we’re going to see more and more of as a media buy methodology because young people are not watching TV every night or they are DVRing their TV and watching it at another time without commercials,” Claytor said.

He said internet-based pop up ads may be the easiest way to reach young Hoosier voters.

White’s opponent, meanwhile, is incumbent Secretary of State Connie Lawson, who is also on the air with a 30-second television ad.

Lawson’s ad focuses on “safeguarding Hoosiers’ money and future.” The ad also explains what Lawson has accomplished since she was appointed to the post, including helping seniors avoid identity theft.

The Republican candidate for state treasurer, Kelly Mitchell, is also airing a 30-second ad, which focuses on her political experience over the years as well as her S.A.V.E Indiana plan – a proposal to help adults, educators, veterans, and young Hoosiers make financially smart decisions.

“Kelly’s ad is running statewide and the frequency is increasing as we get closer to the election,” said Jay Kenworthy, her campaign manager.

Mitchell’s Democratic opponent, Mike Boland, has opted not to spend money on television ads. Instead, he has created a YouTube channel that runs a minute and a half ad discussing Boland’s main goals if elected. But, according to YouTube, the video has only received 14 views in its first week.

Boland’s campaign manager, Jeremy Bernstein, said the campaign is focused more on “grassroots” politics.

“We have had 75 press events or meetings, untold fairs, rallies, and parades,” Bernstein said. ‘We will be doing newspaper and radio and internet advertising. We have definitely outworked our opponent who is doing a TV campaign with little to almost no people campaigning.”

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