Behind the scenes, millions of dollars are being spent in an effort to undermine Bob Stefanowski and Ned Lamont

It’s not quite political guerilla warfare, but behind the scenes of this runoff showdown between Republican Bob Stefanowski and Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont, there are millions of dollars earmarked to undermine one or the another in the march until election day on November 8.

So-called super PACs are established under the state’s independent spending rules, which prohibit direct coordination with candidates, unlike attacks by state republican and the Democratic parties and the most prominent candidates themselves.

But it’s clear that TV and social media campaigns are currently focused on portraying their targets with grainy, unflattering photos and sharp criticism of Lamont’s first four-year term; and Stefanowski’s positions and the proximity of other members of the GOP ticket, including U.S. Senate candidate Leora Levy, who is being called an extremist for her anti-abortion and anti-gun stances.

Democratic Governors Association has invested $2.4 million in a PAC called Stronger CT, which reported spending nearly $19,000, mostly on media campaigns, after a new infusion of $300,000, according to an August 17 expense report

Its Republican counterpart, called Advancing Connecticut, with a president based in Colorado, has received $1 million from the Republican Governors Association. According to his Aug. 8 filing, there is about $67,500 that has not been spent.

Another organization, CT Truth PAC, led by investors David Kelsey of Old Lyme and Thomas McInerney of Westport, which in the last the presentation of the campaign in June have contributed $750,000 each, with about $84,400 remaining in their efforts to unseat Lamont.

But while the attacks have proven to be partisan political theater, the public’s appetite for the bombing on state television may be waning.

recent announcement from Lamont, promoting their achievements in the past four years, it is more likely to become the standard as summer winds down and November approaches Lamont-Stefanowski II.

Richard Hanley, an associate professor of journalism at Quinnipiac University who teaches a class on disinformation, said come Labor Day Friday, the tones of television commercials, on which Connecticut television stations depend for millions dollars each election cycle, will likely change. drastically, making DGA, RGA, and CT Truth less attack-oriented.

“The political ads started early, and at this point, it looks like they’re going to have a negative effect on voters,” Hanley said in a phone interview. “People are already tired of advertising and it’s only August.”

He warned that voters can react negatively to aggressive attacks, resulting in potential voters becoming disinterested, less interested in the race and even skipping Election Day. “The negative ads are almost comical in terms of their production value and they turn off voters,” Hanley said. “It’s almost impossible to watch local news without being bombarded.”

It’s easy money for television, social media and companies like Arlington, Va.-based Strategic Media Services. and Washington-based Great American Media, which received a check for more than $324,000 on Aug. 17 from DGA affiliate Stronger. CT, to buy a TV.

“The advertising environment will have to change on Labor Day if the candidates and the groups that support them are going to be effective,” Hanley said of the fine line between attack ads that harm the target as well as the camp. that produces them “It’s easy money for the broadcasters, but it really has an effect on the audience. Political ads, from a strategic perspective, can lead to rapid fatigue.”

While super PACs are throwing in a few million dollars, both Stefanowski, who loaned his campaign $10 million earlier this year, and Lamont, who spent more than $15 million to beat the Republican by 44,000 votes in 2018, they will spend much more than the spring. -i-summer phase of the race.

In his July filing, with the next reporting period in October, Stefanowski reported $6,870,948 on hand, while Lamont reported about $406,000 on hand, according to the State Commission on ‘Execution of the Elections. Late last year, Lamont contributed a modest $210,000 to his campaign. During the 2018 campaign, between the June and October reporting periods, Lamont contributed more than $12 million to the campaign that sent him to the governor’s mansion.

In recent days Lamont has received the cross-endorsement of the Working Families Party, which he also won four years ago. Next week, the Independent Party will hold a caucus in Guilford, which Cheshire’s Robert Hotaling hopes to win, but Stefanowski is expected to contest. Hotaling has raised just over $30,000, with less than $5,000 on hand after lending his campaign $20,000. according to the latest SEEC filing

Democrats have been highlighting Stefanowski’s past practices as a corporate CEO whose payday loan company was banned from doing business in Connecticut because of the high interest rates charged consumers A private business consultant for the past four years, Stefanowski has declined to name any of his clients, citing confidentiality agreements.

Republicans have jointly attacked Lamont, US Sen. Richard Blumenthal and President Joe Biden over inflation and high gas prices, which have fallen sharply in recent weeks. Twitter: @KenDixonCT

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