Secretary of State race: Mauro on television, Schultz on radio

The secretary of state campaign isn’t often in the news, but both candidates are now using paid advertising to get their message to the voters. Incumbent Michael Mauro launched his first campaign television commercial this week, a spot focusing on his accomplishments and bipartisan work. Challenger Matt Schultz is running a radio ad that emphasizes his call for photo ID requirements and his Republican affiliation.

Videos, transcripts and comments are after the jump.

Mauro’s commercial is called “Results”:

Transcript provided by the Mauro campaign, with my notes on the visuals in square brackets:

He puts results over politics. [photos of Mauro speaking at a podium, shaking a man’s hand, standing with a group of men and women, words on screen “He Gets Results“]

Michael Mauro. [photo of Mauro, words “Michael Mauro Secretary of State]

Under his leadership, Iowa was ranked best in the nation in making voting accessible to our military men and women serving overseas. [outline of state of Iowa in background, words “Best in the Nation,” photos of Mauro standing with a group of veterans, a person in military uniform putting a ballot in an envelope, and a silhouette photo of what looks like soldiers on duty]

Michael Mauro. [photo of Mauro speaking from podium, “Michael A. Mauro Iowa Secretary of State ]

He’s made voting accessible, safe and secure [photo of Mauro still visible on left, person pointing to ballot on right as words “accessible, safe, secure” flash on screen]

while saving Iowa taxpayers millions of dollars. [photo of Mauro shaking hands with woman, words “Michael Mauro saving millions“]

Michael Mauro. [photos of Mauro with different groups of people, words “Michael Mauro Working effectively“]

Working effectively with election officials across Iowa is why county auditors, Democrats and Republicans, endorsed Michael Mauro. [outline of state of Iowa, filled with names of all county auditors who have endorsed Mauro; each auditor’s name is followed by D or R and the county’s name]

Iowa’s Secretary of State…Michael Mauro. [official photo of Mauro next to words “Michael Mauro Secretary of State”; at bottom of screen “Paid for by the committee to elect Michael A. Mauro”]

As a first-term incumbent in a low-profile office, Mauro needs to boost his name recognition, so I like the way this commercial repeats his name many times and keeps it on screen. Thirty seconds isn’t long enough to list all of Mauro’s accomplishments; if there’s a follow-up, it should mention that Mauro helped ensure that every Iowan casts a ballot with a voter-verified paper trail. Putting the list of county auditors who have endorsed in the ad is a nice touch. The names aren’t on screen long enough for the viewer to read them thoroughly, but you can see that there are a lot of them, including a bunch with “R” after their names.

Mauro’s opponent, Matt Schultz, ran cable television commercials before the Republican primary, but to my knowledge, he is not up on television now. He launched this radio ad in early October.

My transcript:

Schultz: Did you know you have to show a photo ID before you get on an airplane, open a checking account, and even to buy an adult beverage? So why don’t we have to show an ID when we vote? I’m Matt Schultz, and when I’m elected secretary of state, I’m going to fight to require that everyone show a photo ID when you vote at the polls. Remember, Ronald Reagan always said “Trust, but verify.” Go to my website,, then vote for me, Republican candidate Matt Schultz for Iowa secretary of state. Paid for by the Friends of Matt Schultz.

The text is barely altered from an ad Schultz ran on radio and cable television before the Republican primary. I’m fascinated that Schultz makes his party affiliation so prominent in the commercial. Traditionally, candidates for statewide offices in Iowa don’t put their party brand in their campaign message. The tv ads now running for Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and State Auditor David Vaudt do not mention that they are Republicans. Schultz clearly expects and wants to capitalize on a Republican landslide in Iowa. His tactic is a gamble, because an independent who votes Republican at the top of the ticket may not necessarily want a partisan figure for secretary of state. In a way, Schultz is reinforcing Mauro’s campaign message:

“The choice in this year’s campaign for Secretary of State is between results and partisanship. Just this week another county auditor endorsed my campaign bringing the total to 13 Republicans, 32 Democrats, and one No Party. The advertisement we are launching today will highlight the significant accomplishments we’ve been able to deliver for Iowans because of that bipartisan cooperation,” Secretary Mauro said.

The Mauro endorsers include Schultz’s own county auditor.

It makes sense for Schultz to lead the commercial with his stance on photo IDs. He has suggested the secretary of state should be more involved in issues ranging from immigration enforcement to proposed labor bills, but photo ID has been his central campaign theme from the beginning. When asked this summer what he wants Iowans to think about as they enter the voting booth, Schultz answered,

If you want — if you think that having a photo id is important when you go to vote, then you need to vote for Matt Schultz for Iowa Secretary of State.

Mauro contends that Iowa’s current identification requirements are sufficient to prevent fraud.

Well, the first thing I want to do is clarify a couple things.  We do require a photo ID for voting.  We put in same-day voter registration, which went into effect in 2008.  45,000 people participated in that process.  Somehow it never got said to the constituency out there, but they do have to show a photo ID to vote on Election Day at their polling place with a valid address to it.  Then in addition to that, we have an identification process that’s in place that I fought this year in the legislature.  I think democratic leadership wanted to take out the other form of identification we have, and that any poll worker on Election Day — you know, Iowa  is a rural community and in most of those communities all the poll workers know the people coming to vote.  But if they don’t and they’re not confident about who that person is, you can ask for ID.  You can ask for id of inactive voters.  We require photo ID for same-day voter registration. So to say that there’s no identification process out there is wrong. We do have one.  It does work.  I think a lot of times we search for a cure for a problem that doesn’t exist.  What we do have in there — we want to have integrity in the best possible way we can, and we do that with our voter verify paper trail, a unifying voting equipment, and the ID policy.

Share any thoughts about the secretary of state race in this thread.

  • If I weren't so cynical,

    I’d say Mauro cares about running a sound election system, while Schultz cares about promoting himself within his party, using whatever slogan might work.  In the last two elections Republicans have run two very bad candidates for Secretary of State.  Why are they both from Council Bluffs?

    Mauro really is hard on my cynicism!

  • Debate

    I thought the IPTV forum/debate on Sunday (that will air at 6:30 on Saturday) provided the voters a lot of information on the differences the three of us have on what the Secretary of State’s office is to do.  It is a good video and worth the watch if you haven’t had a chance to view it.…

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