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The Ad War

August 26, 2010

One guy has $23 million in the bank; the other is broke. One guy is a household name; the other is “what’s-his-name.”
But you wouldn’t know it from the TV ad war.  In fact, it would appear that what’s his name, Rick Lazio, has seized the initiative, at least for the moment. In his new ad, Andrew Cuomo is Albany personified. (Pity the poor residents of the capital; the name of their city is now the ultimate political insult.)

Cuomo has responded with an ad that shows how he’s really trying to change Albany.
This is almost like a real campaign. Smart moves by each man. And decent ads.
Lazio’s Cuomo=Albany is an interesting play. Simple. Clear. Something of a stretch, but not entirely so given Andrew’s pedigree and long record of public service.
Cuomo’s response is also interesting. It’s meant as a counterpoint to the “Status Cuomo” attack, and it also lays the foundation for what he wants to do later, which is re-visit public sector benefits, which some believe will bankrupt the state unless scaled back.
In one sense this is smart, but in another sense, it raises a concern. The unions, the base of the Democratic party, are squishy on Cuomo. This ad will make them more so.
But where do the unions go? Certainly not to the GOP. Perhaps they go to the Working Families Party? Or do union voters just stay home?
Some believe it will be the later. Ditto, they say, with disaffected minorities, which again raises the question about where Cuomo’s votes will come from?
Of course, the same question can be asked of Lazio. With no money and such a lackluster performance to date, you have to wonder whether he gets even the 40 percent core GOP vote.
We wonder if we’re not heading toward one of those elections characterized by across-the-board anger and apathy.  In such a scenario, voter turnout will be even more important than ever.  Will the Dems be able to mount an effective turnout effort without the unions? Do the Republicans have any kind of field operation?

We love this time of year. So many interesting questions.

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