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Posted by on Oct 28, 2007 in Politics | 9 comments

Ron Paul Set To Use Radio And TV Ads In Presidential Campaign Bigtime

If some “mainstream” Republicans in debates and on conservative websites have felt that Rep. Ron Paul is an unwelcome thorn in their side with his views that on many issues don’t skew towards the present GOP establishment, they will be displeased by the following news:

Ron Paul’s campaign is gearing up to be a notable and persistent presence on radio and TV in early primary states by boosting broadcast ads and its fund raising drive. Translate that into: if the ads boost his numbers, it’ll be harder to dismiss him as a voice, harder for him to be as marginalized by editors assigning busy reporters to a daily assignment must-do-list, and it could increase his appeal among young supporters:

Hoping to defy more expectations, Rep. Ron Paul is ratcheting up his maverick Republican presidential campaign by launching TV and radio commercials in early primary states and setting an ambitious $12 million fundraising goal.

For a candidate often relegated by pundits to second- or third-tier status, Paul’s ability to make a big entry into advertising wars is unusual.

This doesn’t necessarily mean he will be skyrocketed into first place, but even if he becomes a solidly strong second-tier candidate in an early primary state he could benefit because the media would then see it as a major story…and he’d get more ink and airtime.

With just over two months until the first primaries, experts question whether the libertarian-leaning congressman from Lake Jackson can expand his intense following to make a credible showing in these early contests.

Officials with Paul’s campaign acknowledge they have an uphill battle, but say they plan to broaden his support with an advertising campaign that includes $1.1 million in television spots that begin airing Monday in New Hampshire.

The Chronicle report quotes campaign spokesman Jesse Benton as saying the campaign wants to give voters a more complete picture of Ron Paul, who has mainly been quoted in the mainstream media for his anti-war statements.

The television spots feature people in New Hampshire talking about Paul’s stands, including bringing troops home from Iraq. The ad also includes biographical material, emphasizing that obstetrician Paul is the only doctor in the race, said Benton.

He might DOWNPLAY that one: it could remind Republican voters of another former doctor who did not endear himself to Republicans…former Majority Leader Senator Bill Frist.

This month the Paul campaign began running about $430,000 worth of radio spots in New Hampshire and early primary states of South Carolina, Iowa and Nevada. Those radio ads stress his domestic stands such as opposition to tax increases and amnesty for illegal immigrants.

To help pay for the stepped-up efforts — of course the campaign hopes to reach beyond past donors who included a self-identified clown and a wizard — the campaign has also set a target of raising $12 million for the last three months of this year.

That comment in this newspaper story is a bit silly. So a clown donated to Paul’s campaign? There are plenty of clowns in politics in both parties. And some of them hold public office. MORE:

That would be more than double the $5.2 million campaign took in during the third quarter of 2007, and about as much as better-known GOP presidential contender Fred Thompson raised last quarter.

The story notes that Paul has run a frugal campaign so far, spending only $2.8 million in the first nine months of the political battle which does not quite match front-runner Rudy Giuliani ($30 million)

The New York Times notes that Paul’s big media push is already underway:

If media muscle is any measure of a candidate, Representative Ron Paul of Texas is getting ready to flex his.

In the last two weeks, Mr. Paul — a Republican presidential candidate — has spent nearly a half-million dollars on radio advertisements in four early primary states, the first major media investment of his campaign. On Tuesday night, he will take a seat opposite Jay Leno.

That is significant: sitting down next to Jay Leno won’t make a campaign but it will continue to solidify his status as someone whose views deserve to be heard. Aside from Leno’s audience, the clip will be shown on news shows and likely circulate like wildfire via you tube.

The Times also notes that those who simply brush Paul aside as irrelevant could be making a huge mistake because he could a) pick up steam b) have an impact on the race:

Dante J. Scala, an associate professor of political science at the University of New Hampshire, said that if the advertisement campaign was effective, it could convince more independents, libertarians and even moderate Republicans to vote for Mr. Paul. According to a recent Marist College poll, about 15 percent of likely Republican voters in the state were undecided.

A poll released Thursday by the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College in Manchester, put Mr. Paul in fourth place in New Hampshire with 7 percent of the vote, behind Senator John McCain of Arizona (15 percent), Mr. Giuliani (22 percent) and Mitt Romney (32 percent), the former governor of Massachusetts.

“It’s striking to me that he’s at 7 percent without running a single TV ad in New Hampshire,” Mr. Scala said. “If he starts to attract significant support among independents, then he could start to hurt Giuliani or McCain.”

Mr. Paul’s Republican rivals may already be taking notice of his newfound purchasing power. During the Oct. 21 Republican debate in Florida, the other candidates treated him more gently than in previous debates, like the one in May when Mr. Giuliani admonished him for suggesting that the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, were spurred by American policies in the Middle East.

There could be other impacts as well.

Traditionally, if a non-winning presidential primary candidate has views that prove to be popular it begins to impact the race since some other candidates may “steal his thunder” and try to incorporate some of his ideas to attract his voters. A winning candidate who gets the nomination may also move heaven and earth to get that person into the party’s tent for the general election and perhaps acknowledge some of his ideas.

There is always the fear that a supposed “maverick” candidate who is perceived by the establishment of not belonging to the good ‘ol boy network of perceived values and assumptions will pack up and lead a third party movement. Paul has indicated he has no plans to do that…but if the GOP doesn’t address his concerns, his highly-motivated followers are likely to go somewhere else on Election Day. They’re unlikely to stay home. So where would they go?

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