Kaine, Stewart Taking Different Approaches to Advertisements in Senate Race

Oct 4, 2018

Republican challenger Corey Stewart, right, gestures during a debate with U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine in Richmond earlier this week.
Credit AP Photo / Steve Helber

If you watch television or listen to talk radio, you know it’s election time. But just how effective are all those ads?

If you’ve been anywhere near a television since August, you’ve seen something like this.

“I’m Tim Kaine, and I approve this message. Affordable health care is key to building a Virginia that works for all.”

Campaign finance records show Kaine has already spent more than $4 million to appear in all of Virginia’s media markets. His Republican opponent has not. But if you listen to conservative talk radio, you might have heard something like this.

“I’m Corey Stewart, and I approved this message because Tim Kaine and the lying Democrats can never be allowed to run the U.S. Senate again.”

Kaine has a 15-to-1 fundraising advantage, so he can afford that TV time. Stewart cannot. But Quentin Kidd at Christopher Newport University says he’s pursuing a smart strategy to meet his voters where they are.

“Advertising on local radio is effective for a Republican candidate because that’s where conservative voters are. I think advertising on TV more broadly is effective given what he’s trying to accomplish.”

And what Kaine’s trying to accomplish, Kidd says, is to run up the score — creating long coattails in four competitive House races where Democrats are hoping to move the seats from red to blue.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.