With primary election day in Minnesota a little more than three weeks away, one might expect to hear voters complaining about all those campaign ads.
Not this year.
Blame (or credit) the Republican primary for governor. The four candidates vying to take on Gov. Mark Dayton this fall might normally be expected to place a total ad buy well into six figures, but only one has made a substantial purchase of television time so far.
Scott Honour, the GOP candidate who currently has the most money on hand, has purchased $15,000-$20,000 of airtime on Fox News statewide, according to Honour campaign consultant Pat Shortridge. Shortridge says the ads will expand to statewide broadcast outlets in the coming weeks and complement current radio and on line advertising.
“The ads are a clear declarative statement of how Scott sees things, the problems and how he’d be different,” Shortridge said.
Former House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, meanwhile, has eschewed a significant TV purchase for now. “With 85 percent of the state likely not voting in the primary (and even fewer choosing the Republican side of the ballot), sometimes expensive shot gun approaches in broadcast media are not the best uses for primary campaign expenditures,” he said.
Seifert said the campaign would target his ads online, on cable, and broadcast “as resources are available.”
Former Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers appears to be following much of the same strategy. He announced on Twitter that he’s re-releasing his ad via YouTube rather than spend money on a large television ad buy.
Then there’s the GOP-endorsed candidate Jeff Johnson, a Hennepin County Commisioner, who’s raised the least money among the Republican candidates so far. Johnson’s website features two ads that have aired so far only online.
“We have a smart statewide voter contact program in place that will increase Jeff Johnson’s name ID and turn out our voters,” said campaign spokesman Scot Crockett. “I am not going to comment on timing or the mix of media that we will be using.”