The New Help-Rory-by-Way-of-Helping-Gibbons-by-Way-of-Criticizing-Sandoval Ad Campaign

As Flashed by Ralston earlier, we will soon see the launch of a “campaign that could fundamentally change the dynamic of the GOP governor’s race.”

According to Democratic uber-strategist Dan Hart, with whom I spoke a few moments ago, “The Committee to Protect Nevada Jobs” is slated to launch an independent expenditure TV campaign that will “keep Nevada’s voters well informed” about their gubernatorial candidates.

Ralston reported that the campaign will be critical of GOP gubernatorial candidate Brian Sandoval in order to help Jim Gibbons win the primary so Rory Reid will (presumably) have a better chance to win the general.

But Hart said the campaign “may also include information sharing about other gubernatorial candidates” and that “it should not be assumed this is an anti-Sandoval campaign, per se.”  Hart confirmed that TV ads will begin running next week and said the committee’s website will also launch at that time. And that we can expect various press releases as well.

My three cents:

Sandoval is still not well known by many voters so there is definitely an opportunity for the opposition to define him.  Team Sandoval probably should have seen this coming and gotten out in front by launching some warm and fuzzy get-to-know-Brian ads about 30 days back.

Too late for that now, but Sandoval is finally going up with his first TV ad this week.

As for whether this new committee will really “share information” about non-Sandoval gubernatorial candidates — we’ll see.  With Dan Hart, one of Nevada’s sharpest Democratic strategists, behind the effort, I’d guess we can count on the campaign to target whoever the ongoing surveys are saying is most likely to beat Rory Reid in the general election.

Re-stated:  A weak GOP nominee is Rory’s only hope.

  • Ned Barnett

    My first experience with “take down the front-runner so we can run against a weaker candidate” was the 1966 Georgia gubernatorial campaign. All the “smart money” in both the Democratic and Republican parties in Georgia were playing these games … and along came a spider (so to speak) – a dark-horse segregationist candidate, Lester Maddox, won when the smart money managed to destroy the leading candidates. NOBODY was happy with Maddox except axe-handle makers (he’d once waived an axe handle at some blacks to keep his Atlanta restaurant segregated).

    Fast-forward four years; in 1970, the smart money did it again – and as President of the Georgia Federation of Teen-Aged Republicans, I saw it unfold at first hand. Again, the leading candidates for both big parties exercised “Mutually Assured Destruction” – this time, they elected a political nobody from South Georgia, Jimmy Carter. Ouch.

    Fast forward (again) another four years. Jump to South Carolina. The Dems tried to play these stupid political games (Republicans were too insignificant in terms of voter registration to worry about), torpedoed their real leader (Charles “Pug” Ravenel – hey, that’s how people are named in the Deep South), and for the first time since reconstruction, a Republican won (Jim Edwards, who later became a cabinet officer in Reagan’s administration).

    That last time, I had a front-row seat, having been a (civil service – not political) economic development speechwriter for the term-limited Democrat – I then became the (civil service) speechwriter for that first Republican.

    I saw this one more time, four years later, when the Democratic Lieutenant Governor of SC got scrummed in the primary, letting a Jimmy Carter-clone get in (Richard Riley, who later became a Clinton-era cabinet officer). I was really front-row here, as I was the chief speechwriter and media guy for the Lt. Governor (let me be clear here – he knew I was a Republican and had worked on the Ford campaign, but in the 70s in South Carolina, if you were really conservative, party didn’t matter).

    I’ve seen this happen a lot since then – and one thing I’ve noted. It never works. Talk about the Law of Unintended Consequences.

    So, good luck to the Rory-ites, but they really ought to take their foot out of their mouth before they shoot themselves in the foot. This “could” work, but I’ve never see it happen.