The Republican Governors Association (RGA) has released two new web ads, one that attacks Tim Cahill, and for the first time one that attacks Deval Patrick. The ads are short, make a few negative assertions about Cahill and Patrick, and don’t go into much detail.
Doug Rubin, Patrick’s senior strategist has sent out a letter to supporters laying out the governor’s case against the ad:
The Baker campaign and the Republican Governor’s Association have resorted to spending an unprecedented $2 million in negative TV ads nearly four months before a single vote is cast, in large part to cover up the fact that the Charlie Baker campaign has failed to connect with voters across Massachusetts. We want you to have the facts behind these ads so you can help usÂ respond our way - one-on-one with your friends, neighbors and co-workers!
Fact: The Massachusetts Taxpayer’s Foundation, a respected independent budget organization, conducted a study for the Boston GlobeÂ that proved that state spending grew twice as fast under Charlie Baker than during the Patrick administration. When Baker was the state’s budget chief, state spending grew 4.9% annually, while Governor Patrick has held state spending under 2.4%.
Fact: Baker has failed to be straight with voters about the billions in state revenue lost due to the global economic crisis. Governor Patrick has met this challenge, and preserved funding for education, public safety, health care and job creation through a responsible mix of reforms, budget cuts and state employee layoffs and furloughs, concessions from state employee unions, and new revenue. This responsible approach has led to all three national, independent credit rating agencies re-affirming the state’s AA bond rating and crediting Governor Patrick’s leadership through this global crisis.
Fact: According to multiple independent economic studies, Massachusetts is recovering faster and stronger than the rest of the country. We have added nearly 45,000 new jobs over the past four months, saw the largest monthly job increase in 17 years in May, and rank 5th in the nation in private sector job growth over the past 6 months.
Please tell your friends, neighbors and co-workers you’ve had enough of Charlie Baker, whoÂ wrote the Big Dig finance plan that Massachusetts taxpayers are still paying for, once again spreading false information about Governor Patrick’s responsible handling of the state budget under difficult circumstances. Please help us get this news out by forwarding this email to five friends right now.
Senior Strategist, Deval Patrick Campaign
Rubin’s email strategy is pretty smart. They know these ads are going to have people talking about Patrick being a “free spending liberal” and they want Patrick supporters to have facts on hand.
The majority of the letter hinges on the argument that the state’s budget problems are not Patrick’s fault and that the state is recovering.
“Not my fault” is a weak sort of campaign slogan. And touting a recovery that most people aren’t really seeing on the ground yet is risky. If the economic indicators turn against the governor – and I believe they will – these statements are going to give Baker a cudgel to beat Patrick with.
The cuts to local aid that were just passed are going to cause layoffs across the state. Happy talk about all the “good news” will sound pretty hollow in September when schools re-open with fewer teachers and more service cuts.
Ironic that RGA goes Negative on Patrick First
Back in May the Baker campaign leaked a memo ( accidentally? or accidentally on purpose? ) where they predicted that the Patrick campaign would go negative:
While Patrick may have run on â€œhopeâ€ and â€œchangeâ€ in 2006 â€“ this will be a much different race for him. Â Look for his campaign to get increasingly negative as they try to define Charlie before he gains any more steam. Â Rather than debate the issues or his record they will want to discredit the messenger because they understand the majority of voters arenâ€™t happy with the past four years (tax increases, reckless spending, Marion Walsh, support for illegal immigrants, etcâ€¦). Â It is why you are starting to see him use words like â€œdishonest,â€ â€œdisingenuous,â€ and â€œfraudâ€ when discussing Charlie.
That really hasn’t happened. The Governor has certainly made negative statements about Baker, but there hasn’t been any kind of sustained negative advertising against Baker.
Will Patrick Retaliate with his own Negative Ads?
According to the Boston Herald – no:
Gov. Deval PatrickÂ has no plans to film a response to the new Republican Governors Association attack ad that targets him as a tax-and-spend liberal, aides said yesterday.
His strategy banks on the ad backfiring, aides said
The timing of the ads is interesting, coming just as Patrick is hosting the National Governors Association meeting in Boston. The NGA is a carefully bipartisan institution with Governors from both parties. The Republican Governors are all members of the RGA of course. So it must have been a little uncomfortable to all be hanging around together while those ads were all over TV roasting your host.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, the RGA chairman, explained the timing as a “coincidence”.
Can the RGA Keep Up These Massive Ad Buys?
This is the third major ad buy for the RGA in the Massachusetts Governor’s race. The RGA has probably spent over $2 million dollars on them.
The short answer is yes. The RGA has been raising money very successfully. They currently have over $40 of cash on hand and there are 4 months of campaigning left in this cycle. At this rate they can afford to keep up million dollar ad buys in 10 states for the rest of the election.
In their most recent fundraising quarter they pulled in another $19 million.
The Democractic Governors Association (DGA) has pretty significant reserves on hand – $22 million, having raised $9 million in the most recent quarter. So the DGA has the resources to make its own counter efforts – but with about half the funding of the RGA they are going to have to be more strategic.
The DGA has promised to spend money to defend Patrick. Nathan Daschle, of the Democratic Governors Association, said:
Weâ€™re gonna be spending a lot of money in Massachusetts. Itâ€™s one of our target races. You will see us in your state.
So what are they waiting for?
Baker has not emerged as the threat we thought he could be.