OSU Prof: Voters Subject To ‘Permanent Campaign’

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The 2010 congressional elections are a year away but the campaign in Central Ohio’s 12th district has already begun.

THIS TELEVISION AD BY MOVE ON DOT ORG HIT THE AIRWAVES IN SEPTEMBER, 14 MONTHS BEFORE VOTERS WILL DECIDE BETWEEN INCUMBENT REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN PAT TIBERI AND HIS OPPONENT FRANKLIN COUNTY COMMISSIONER, PAULA BROOKS. TIBERI WHO FIRST RAN FOR CONGRESS IN 2000, SAYS THIS TYPE OF EARLY ATTACK IS NEW.

“I’ve never seen it this early 14 months before an election and just coincidentally they all began the same time that my opponent announced that she was running against me.” Says Tiberi

TIBERI SAYS THE ATTACKS DISTORT HIS RECORD ON HEALTHCARE AND ARE FULL OF INACCURACIES.

“I think they rally progressive and liberal voters, but I think from the feedback that we’ve received from independent voters in particular they get turned off. They know who Acorn is, they know who Move on dot org is.”

SUCH EARLY ATTACKS ADS ARE NOT UNCOMMON IN CENTRAL OHIO. FORMER CONGRESSWOMAN DEBORAH PRYCE FELT THE STING OF MOVE-ON-DOT ORG MONTHS BEFORE SHE STOOD FOR RE-ELECTION IN 2006.

“They started very early and it was just a smear campaign from the very beginning and I hate to see that happening.” Says Pryce.

PRYCE WENT ON TO NARROWLY WIN THAT RACE BUT DECIDED NOT TO SEEK RE-ELECTION IN 2008- PARTLY SHE SAYS BECAUSE OF THE NEGATIVE CAMPAIGN TACTICS.

“They’re wrong but the problem is the side that starts them starts it off because you have to answer them.” OSU POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR, HERB ASHER SAYS THE NEGATIVE ADS ARE PART OF A LARGE NUMBER OF EVENTS THAT HAPPEN DURING A CAMPAIGN TO INFLUENCE VOTERS.

“We could possibly be in a permanent campaign between now and election day. You know a year before the election we’re going to see the tv ads, you know not so much from the candidates or the parties but from these outside groups, maybe the accumulative effect over time, might have some effect.” Says Asher.

ASHER EXPLAINS THAT THE MONEY SPENT BY MOVE ON DOT ORG AND OTHER SUCH GROUPS IS NOT LIMITED DURING A CAMPAIGN BECAUSE IT IS USED ON ISSUE ADVOCACY ADS THAT DO NOT EXPRESSLY SUPPORT A SPECIFIC CANDIDATE.

“That means if it’s an issue advocacy ad, it’s easier for groups to raise money, raise it from a variety of different sources, perhaps not fully disclose the sources of money.”

FRANKLIN COUNTY COMMISSIONER PAULA BROOKS WOULD NOT TALK SPECIFICALLY ABOUT THESE ADS WHICH HER SPOKESMAN SAYS ARE NOT UNDER HER CONTROL. THE DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE SAYS TIBERI IS FAIR GAME, EVEN NOW. THE GROUP’S SPOKESPERSON, GABBY ADLER SAYS THE AIM IS TO CALL OUT TIBERI’S RECORD OVER THE LAST 8 YEARS.

“A lot of the ads that have been out there on Congressman Tiberi is really just been highlighting his record and if you want to call that negative a lot of people would just talk about that as putting light on his true record in Congress.” Says Adler.

NO DOUBT REPUBLICAN BACKED GROUPS WILL BE ATTACKING TIBERI’S OPPONENT IN THE MONTHS AHEAD BEFORE THE 2010 ELECTION. DEBBIE HOLMES WOSU NEWS.

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