Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Air Wars Start in MA-05

Unless I've missed a previous spot, Democratic Congressional Candidate Niki Tsongas has launched the first television ad in the race to replace Marty Meehan in the fifth district. Check it out here.

The ad is slated to run for a week and a half on cable in the district starting this afternoon. I didn't see it after watching a few hours of NECN, but then again I'm not in the district and I think cable can pinpoint as geography a little better than broadcast, so maybe I won't see any. The ad itself is nothing too spectacular, and the production values don't seem to be that great -- though maybe that's just because I'm viewing it on the web. That said, the message -- let's bring the troops home and treat them right when they get back -- is a good one that will play well in the district.

Being first to the air is a good move for Tsongas, who needs to hold on to her front-runner status if she's going to win the election. At the same time, though, she already has the best name recognition of all the candidates in the race, and paradoxically also has the least to gain by running early ads. Perhaps her campaign also hopes to coax one of the other candidates into spending their money on media buys before they can afford it. I don't think that's likely to happen here, but you never know how a campaign is going to react if they see some unfavorable poll numbers.

I do believe that this race will ultimately be won on the ground, but if a candidate cedes the air, the job of their ground troops will be that much more difficult.