This Week in Texas Politics: Lights, Camera, Campaign Ads
AUSTIN, TX – Early voting begins next week – and in anticipation of that – more campaign ads are starting to air. The primary election media blitz is the focus of today’s examination of this week in Texas politics.
Political analysts Patrick Svitek and Sonia Vanmeter along with FOX 4’s Steven Dial and Brian Smith of St. Edward’s University join FOX 7’s Rudy Koski to take a look at the ads and how they’re produced to grab your attention .
RUDY KOSKI: We’re back at the LBJ Penthouse to talk about this week in Texas politics, and let’s go with our title. Patrick Svitek of the first Texas Tribune, what is your title of the week?
PATRICK SVITEK: It’s time to be negative.
RUDY: Political consultant Sonia Van Meter, what’s your title of the week?
SONIA VAN METER: Beto visits Texas. But will it be enough?
RUDY: Brian Smith from St. Edward’s University, what’s your title of the week?
BRIAN SMITH: The Texas grid holds. Greg Abbott is the big winner.
RUDY: And Steven Dial Fox 4 Dallas. What is your title of the week?
STEVEN DIAL: The main campaign is heating up.
RUDY: Well, it’s also kicking off the Super Bowl, and we got our Oscar nominations as well. So with that in mind, we have a lot of campaign announcements that have really gone up this week. So with those two big events in mind, let’s talk about who took home the award. Who has the best ad this week? Who really had an impact? Steven, what campaign caught your eye?
STEVEN: George P. Bush. I mean, I know it’s a little closer to the border, but it’s been running non-stop here in North Texas.
SONIA: Lloyd Doggett because every time you take out Nancy Pelosi and talk about attacking Trump, you’re throwing red meat at primary voters, and that’s something he knows he needs to do now.
PATRICK: It didn’t make me scratch my head, which struck me as, I think, an impressive announcement in a Republican primary. Louie Gohmert, the first TV commercial for the Attorney General race. His ad included a lot to show primary voters that they could get a lot they could get, with Ken Paxton, with him, but not an FBI investigation and a securities fraud indictment.
BRIAN: I’m going to stick with that same breed. I think Eva Guzman’s commercial was very clever in that there weren’t a lot of visuals, very simple. Our problem is that she votes in single digits, but I thought that was effective advertising.
RUDY: What’s the danger of not just doing direct publicity and being too clever? Patrick?
PATRICK: Well, sometimes in some of these races, you know, the contestants might have an authenticity issue, and so they don’t want to run ads that might be too produced or too dramatic, and they’re always trying enhance the credibility of authenticity with voters.
SONIA: It’s true. Yeah, there must still be some content behind that nifty advertisement. Generally speaking, I mean, politics is all about show business. So if you have the money and the creativity, that’s a very good thing. But at the end of the day, you still have to have sound policies that people agree with, and nothing short of that will work.
RUDY: Steven, all these commercials seem to pass on base. Dan Patrick’s school announcement talks about the controversial critical race and transgender theory. Lloyd Doggett embracing images of Nancy Pelosi and Planned Parenthood. Very divisive. Will these ads still be simple for next month?
STEVEN: Absolutely. And because our country, our state, locally, we’re so divisive right now during this pandemic, whether it’s for a mask or not, for masks, everyone’s campaign ads, especially those who have a great notoriety, they’ll throw the reddest of red meats, or whatever you mean, blueberries or something on the other side.
BRIAN: Well, the strategy is always the same. Motivate your base, demotivate your opposition and red meat ads and attack ads do that, and that’s why we see so many of them.
PATRICK: I think we’re going to see a lot more negativity over the next two weeks than there is obviously a bit of a reset. If you were to do a run off.
RUDY: Keeping with the theme of the Oscars, who is receiving the award for campaign ads this week? Sonia, we’ll start with you. What reward do you give out?
SONIA: I give the best special effect, and this year it goes to the animated flame above Jasmine Crockett’s head.
RUDY: Steven Dial, who is receiving your award, and what is it?
STEVEN: Best Supporting or Accessory Actor – Dan Patrick’s Truck.
RUDY: Brian Smith, who is receiving your award, and what is it?
BRIAN: Best Actor in a Comedy – Don Huffines.
RUDY: And Patrick Svitek, what’s your award and who gets it?
PATRICK: I also tried with a prop, I think the best main prop is the hammer I saw this week that Congressman Pat Fallon used to smash a television that Anthony Fauci was talking about.
RUDY: And with that, we close out another week in Texas politics.
See the full list of Texas gubernatorial candidates here.
Check out the Texas Attorney General’s Election Guide here.
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