Leadership is the theme of Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett's opening commercial promoting his gubernatorial candidacy. In the first half of the 60-second spot, a woman whose home was "nearly destroyed" in 2008 says the mayor "delivered" on his promise "to rebuild our city better than ever."
Corbett then tells listeners, "the floods in Cedar Rapids proved that we can't wait for things to get better on their own." Without mentioning current Governor Kim Reynolds, Corbett asserts that "Iowans can't afford the status quo," and the state needs "a bold new leader in the governor's office" to "slash income tax rates and champion conservative solutions."
Corbett has signaled for months that tax reform would be a major part of his case in the 2018 Republican primary. In interviews and his political memoir, he has also emphasized his role in helping Iowa's second-largest city recover from a major natural disaster. This summer, he repeatedly characterized the Reynolds administration as reactive rather than proactive when faced with major problems, like recurring revenue shortfalls or the collapse of Iowa's individual health insurance market.
Responding to my inquiry, the Corbett campaign said the spot is running for two weeks on Des Moines-based WHO Radio, WMT in Cedar Rapids, and KMA in Shenandoah, which reaches a large audience in southwest Iowa. I enclose below the full script and audio provided by the campaign. The candidate's name is repeated six times, a tactic often used to build name recognition.
Although Corbett has been speaking to local audiences around the state for two years, he entered the governor's race as a relative unknown to voters, compared to Reynolds. A Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa poll by Selzer & Co found in February that "Seventy-three percent of Iowans don’t know enough about Corbett to offer an opinion. Seventeen percent have a favorable view, and 10 percent have an unfavorable view." In the same survey, 44 percent of respondents had a favorable view of the then lieutenant governor, 24 percent unfavorable, and 32 percent unsure. Since the governor's powers devolved onto Reynolds in late May, her name recognition has presumably increased.
60-second ad now running on WHO, WMT, and KMA radio stations:
In 2008, a flood nearly destroyed my home in Cedar Rapids. Hi, my name is Linda Seger. I'll never forget that feeling of despair. Many people thought our city would never recover. But things finally turned around when a new leader emerged for Cedar Rapids. His name was Ron Corbett. Ron Corbett ran for mayor promising to rebuild our city better than ever. And he delivered. When the floods came back, we were ready because Ron Corbett had kept his word. Ron Corbett was the leader Cedar Rapids needed then, and he is the leader Iowa needs today.
Hi, I'm Ron Corbett. The floods in Cedar Rapids proved that we can't wait for things to get better on their own. We must act. Iowans can't afford the status quo. The time for studying and tinkering around the edges must end. It is leaving Iowans behind. We need a bold new leader in the governor's office, one that will slash income tax rates and champion conservative solutions. Visit RonCorbett.com to see my new game plan for Iowa.
Paid for by Corbett for governor.
The big floods in Cedar Rapids qualify as traditional natural disasters. But given the weather pattern changes in Iowa over the past fifty years, which include significant increases in annual rainfall and higher humidity levels, it is legitimate to ask whether recent large Iowa floods have been entirely natural So does Corbett recognize that climate change is a real thing that is human-caused, I wonder? Bet that won't come up in his ads.