Punching and Counter-Punching in Kansas and Georgia

Candidates across the nation are launching comparison spots at rapid-fire pace just as political prime time begins in earnest. This is particularly so in Kansas and Georgia, where all four of the contenders in the two states’ Senate races are delivering major blows that will ultimately lay the final victory groundwork for two of the participants.

Roberts on Offense


Sen. Pat Roberts (R), reeling from self-imposed wounds administered weeks and months ago and now facing a unified Independent/Democratic coalition that has formed to back opponent Greg Orman (I), seems to be rebounding with his latest campaign ad. Orman simultaneously aired his own television message brandishing his independence, an advertisement that also appears effective.

Prior to the airing of these spots, Suffolk University/USA Today released a new poll (Sept. 27-30; 500 likely Kansas voters) that again gives Orman an advantage over the beleaguered incumbent. According to these results, the challenger claims a 46-41 percent edge.

This is a good result for the Independent candidate, but certainly still illuminates a victory path for Roberts. If the Roberts/Republican campaign can sell voters that Orman is a liberal, then the senator still stands a good chance of winning re-election. If Orman can convince a majority that he is sincerely independent, then he will likely win. As you will see in the accompanying ad (top), Orman’s strategy of refusing to answer specific issue questions will not bode well for the long term. Failure to so obviously state a position on important issues like Obamacare will lead voters to question his candidacy.

That ad does a good job of highlighting Orman’s weakness, and clearly demonstrates that he is dodging any issue discussion. On the other hand, Orman’s own ad (below) convincingly blames both parties for what is perceived as a mess in Washington, therefore striving to underscore that he is not an inherent member of either side.

Orman: “Half Right”

As time progresses, Orman will find it difficult to refrain from admitting that he will caucus with the Democrats. Considering the coalition that supports him, he will irreparably damage his credibility should he win election and then turnaround and caucus with the Republicans … even if the GOP takes the majority.


Perdue: Terrorist Dollars

The situation is Georgia is much different, but has a version of dueling ads. Republican David Perdue fired a salvo at Michelle Nunn (D) in a television spot (above) that states that her nonprofit organization (the Points of Light Foundation inspired by former President George H.W. Bush) is somehow responsible for shuffling money to “terrorist organizations”. Nunn fires back with her own effective response ad. (Below)

Michelle Nunn’s Response

Perdue seems to be on a winning track in the Georgia Senate race. Though polling is close, he leads on many more surveys than the number in which he trails. And, from past experience in the south and in Perdue’s own primary race, Republicans, and this GOP nominee specifically, seem to under-poll. Therefore, it appears reasonable that Perdue’s advantage is presumably larger than the two- to three-point lead that we have seen repeated in multiple surveys.

The terrorist funding charge, however, may prove to be a serious mistake. Even if evidence exists that some of the group’s money ended up somehow going to a terrorist organization, the average Georgia voter is not going to believe that former President Bush and his family would continue to associate with, and support, an organization that engages in activities with America’s enemies.

Michelle Nunn highlights the situation with her own response ad, and in doing so is attempting to use the issue to change the course of her campaign.

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