Culver launches new campaign ad

While you're waiting for tonight's election returns, check out the television commercial Governor Chet Culver's campaign launched today:

Like the commercial Culver ran last month, this ad emphasizes that the governor cut spending and his own salary in order to balance the state budget during this recession without raising taxes. I think the ad is well-crafted in terms of script and visuals, but like Bleeding Heartland users IowaVoter and dricey, I am concerned when Democrats rely heavily on Republican anti-tax messaging. Culver may be reinforcing conservative frames and limiting his future policy options if he does win re-election.

Kathie Obradovich highlighted another potential problem not long ago:

Gov. Chet Culver vowed to balance the state budget without raising taxes. And yet a third or more of Iowa school districts might end up raising property taxes as a direct result of the cut to state school aid ordered by Culver.

Is the governor breaking his promise? Well, no. And yes.

When Culver talks about avoiding a tax increase, he really means income and sales taxes - the two major revenue streams for the state. He's referring to tax increases that he would have to sign into law. In that sense, he hasn't raised taxes.

But he acknowledges that property taxes are a concern. Culver says he'll ask the Legislature next year to require school districts to use their cash reserves before raising taxes.

Republicans are already blaming Democrats for the property tax increases many Iowans will experience next year. Their outrage is hypocritical, because the state cuts affecting education and local governments would have been far more severe if not for the federal stimulus bill, which included aid to state governments. Of course, Republicans denounced the stimulus package and bashed Culver for using these federal funds for their intended purpose: to help backfill the 2009 budget.

In any event, Democrats should be wary about staking next year's campaign on "we didn't raise your taxes during this recession." That won't be a comforting message to Iowans who have to pay a larger property tax bill in September 2010.

  • The Deeds campaign in VA

    ought to be a warning shot across the bow of the Culver campaign.  Turning your back on the base has serious consequences.  

    • I agree

      and Markos said it well here:

      There will be much number-crunching tomorrow, but preliminary numbers (at least in Virginia) show that GOP turnout remained the same as last year, but Democratic turnout collapsed. This is a base problem, and this is what Democrats better take from tonight:

        1. If you abandon Democratic principles in a bid for unnecessary "bipartisanship", you will lose votes.

        2. If you water down reform in favor of Blue Dogs and their corporate benefactors, you will lose votes.

        3. If you forget why you were elected -- health care, financial services, energy policy and immigration reform -- you will lose votes.

      Tonight proved conclusively that we're not going to turn out just because you have a (D) next to your name, or because Obama tells us to. We'll turn out if we feel it's worth our time and effort to vote, and we'll work hard to make sure others turn out if you inspire us with bold and decisive action.

      The choice is yours. Give us a reason to vote for you, or we sit home. And you aren't going to make up the margins with conservative voters. They already know exactly who they're voting for, and it ain't you.

  • A-

    The I-JOBS message is out front and center this time, tied to "optimism, vision, and investment in future". No more of this "chose to rebuild" language; instead it's the much stronger "Chet Culver led our recovery". Strong pro-business angle, with the Standard and Poor's and CNBC quotes in there.

    Culver is shown in a variety of settings and situations, countering his image as a "do-nothing". When he speaks to the camera, the shot is tighter on his upper body and he's wearing a suit jacket and tie--all things that serve to make him look slimmer and more handsome than the last ad. He seems to be speaking with more conviction this time around too.

    Points off for the shot of the 1930's breadline. There has to be some modern images (lines at Iowa Workforce, closed plants in different cities in Iowa, etc.) that convey the same message more sincerely.

    Also, I'm not sure how I feel about the blatant use of the "token black guy" in the boardroom scene. I would feel better about it if they worked minority Iowans into the ad in a more organic way.

    Overall: A-

    A very good ad that shows a lot of improvement over the last one. I think with this ad, they've nailed down the themes the campaign is going to hit over the course of the campaign, and done it in a pretty effective way.

    • this is a better ad

      Presumably they had more time to put this one together. The last one seemed to have been thrown together in a couple of days so they could release it on the day Branstad announced.

      Yes, we will be hearing more on these themes during the next year.

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