The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday March 21st

View from the Hill

Candidates take shots, literally, in 2014 campaign ads

The inundation of campaign ads in the race for the state’s U.S. Senate seat paid for by the candidates and outside groups can seem overwhelming. More than $33 million has been spent so far; only Kentucky’s Senate race has seen more campaign spending.

The exhaustive amount of television ads in North Carolina and other states can be enough to make some want to shoot their TV to make it all stop. At least one person has already done just that.

Dan Sullivan, the Republican candidate for Alaska’s Senate seat, denounced the deluge of negative ads in his state’s race in one of the season’s most entertaining political ads so far.

Sullivan heads out into a field and shoots a TV playing a negative campaign ad paid for by an outside group.

Candidates shooting guns in a campaign ad is nothing new. It is often used as a way to bring up the candidate’s support of gun rights and unyielding enthusiasm for the Second Amendment.

A more recent development involves candidates using guns in ads to kill two birds with one stone: demonstrate their support for gun rights, as well as demonstrate opposition to another issue by shooting an item related to it.

The first of this campaign ad subgenre appeared in 2010 by West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin.

Then the state’s governor, Manchin promised to “take dead aim at the cap and trade bill” if he was elected to the Senate that year.

The ad enabled Manchin to tout his National Rifle Association endorsement, rare for a Democrat, and to distance himself from environmental legislation unpopular in coal-rich West Virginia.

Candidates in several congressional races this year have taken shots with their ads — with varied degrees of success.

Will Brooke, a failed Republican candidate for one of Alabama’s congressional seats, shot a copy of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, multiple times in his ad.

Joni Ernst, Iowa’s Republican Senate candidate, also took proverbial aim at the ACA.

Montana Republican Matt Rosendale spent his ad time shooting a drone out of the sky. Rosendale lost his primary race for a congressional seat.

Another failed congressional candidate, Washington Democrat Estakio Beltran, stood on a hill and shot a paper mache elephant in an attempt to take on the Republican Party.

“They call me a long shot. They say I can’t win in this district,” Beltran said in his ad.

He could not, but at least he gave it his best shot.

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