RPOF Red Flag?
The Republican Party of Florida has announced that they will be running a significant (six figure) television buy against Alex Sink. Instead of producing their own ad, the RPOF is simply re-running the ad produced by the Republican Governors Association (which also did a six figure buy).
What does this suggest?
The mere fact that the RGA was running ads in February says that they thought McCollum (or Dockery, though McCollum has to be favored) would ultimately struggle against Sink. This follows the common wisdom, which says that McCollum (who has so far failed to keep up with Sink on the fundraising front – Sink even boasts a $500 contribution from the new chair of the RPOF!) is lackluster candidate with a history of not quite making it on the biggest stage, whereas Sink is more of a rising star. Despite polling which shows McCollum in the lead, no one really seems to believe that he’ll come good on his own in the end.
If the RPOF is running those same ads again, that suggests they think that those dynamics which seem to favor Sink have not been altered.
It also says the RPOF’s money woes have not abated, despite the appointment of uber-insider John Thrasher as the Chair of the state party.
“How can he say that?” you ask. “They just dropped a lot of money into ads against Sink and it’s only March!”
Let me explain my reasoning – it is typical to run different series of television ads, with the same message, with the same branding, but with more or less subtly different images and words, over the course of an election season. Campaigns do this for the same reason that your local affiliates don’t just run the funniest Seinfeld episode (in my opinion, the one where George does the opposite of all his instincts) every night at 8 pm. Yes, there repeated viewings of the ad are important for getting through to the average voter, but there is such a thing as overkill. It’s why large campaigns will often run multiple ads simultaneously.
For the RPOF to simply take over the RGA’s buy – that says they looked at their coffers and said: A) We have to do something to keep Sink from winning this but B) we can’t afford to run a negative ad AND produce it. Solution – we’ll cut corners and just run someone else’s television ad.
Another possibility is that recent and much publicized shake-ups at the RPOF have left the decision making team so traumatized that they don’t feel capable of putting together a process to get a new ad approved.
Either way, something funky is going on in Tallahassee (which is hardly surprising, I know).