Jodi Rell's re-election campaign has been pretty low-key this summer. Most of what she's done is have young campaign workers go to events and hand out swag and balloons. That's about to change. Her website has received a much-needed facelift, and, according to the Courant, she's about to release her first ad:
Her first commercial is a 60-second tribute characterizing her two-year tenure as a fresh start for a state stunned by Rowland's departure in the face of an impeachment inquiry and his eventual conviction on federal corruption charges.
With a deftly edited and elegantly scored ad, Rell exploits the advantages of incumbency and her unique place in Connecticut history, which has helped make the Republican one of the state's most popular governors as she seeks a first full term. (Pazniokas)
DeStefano, of course, has been airing ads since last October, many of them either aimed at Rell or positive ads about DeStefano and New Haven. However, since most of his money was spent winning the primary, it's uncertain when he will be able to put any more of his ads on the air.
DeStefano's spokesman, Derek Slap, said the commercial shows the race is tightening, a claim undermined by the Rell campaign's long-held plan to launch its ad campaign on Labor Day, traditionally the first day of the fall election season. In a Quinnipiac University poll released two weeks ago, Rell led DeStefano, 64 percent to 32 percent, among likely voters.
Slap declined to say when DeStefano, who has been busily raising money since winning the Aug. 8 primary, will be able to go on the air. He dismissed Rell's opening salvo as a "feel-good" effort that diverts attention from the state's inability under Rell to confront major issues. (Pazniokas)
And yet this sort of ad is going to help Rell, because people like her. This is a reminder of why they like her. The ad goes from taking over for Rowland to campaign finance reform to saving the sub base. Positive. Happy. Squishy. Also effective as hell. She doesn't have to mention DeStefano at all. Frankly, attacking him only raises his name recognition.
DeStefano, on the other hand, may find that the only way to get anyone to notice him is to go negative--which could backfire seriously. It's not a great position to be in. He's like Bob Dole in 1996, or perhaps more aptly, Walter Mondale in 1984. Is there a way to victory for him from here?
Pazniokas, Mark. "Rell Starting On Upbeat Note." Hartford Courant 2 September, 2006.