Campaign air wars kicking off early


Citizens are already hearing about some of the presidential hopefuls for the 2008 election, even though the earliest contests are still months ahead. With no incumbents, interested vice presidents or otherwise pre-ordained candidates in either party, the need for some to build name recognition is fueling the early beginning of air war action. Significantly, according to the Associated Press, candidates keeping their powder dry thus far include Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on the Democratic side, and John McCain and Rudy Giuliani on the Republican side.

The reason is simple: they do not suffer from a lack of name recognition. That foursome will be expected to do well in the two earliest contests, the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary, but for all other candidates, a reasonably strong showing may well be necessary just to make it to Super Duper Tuesday on 2/5/08.

Significantly, two of the biggest spenders so far come from the ranks of the nation's governors, who are known in their own state but whose fame may not necessarily have spread much further. Massachusetts Republican Mitt Romney and New Mexico Democrat Bill Richardson are said to be leading both packs in early spending. Also said to be in the early fray are John Edwards (D-NC) and Chris Dodd (D-CT). Romney is said to have already spent 2M.

RBR observation: The best-funded campaigns can afford to keep their powder dry now, but they are sure to unleash impressive barrages toward the end of this year and into 2008. Those already firing can be expected to intensify their activity. And the poorer campaigns will have no choice but to shoot off their entire arsenal and hope to generate enough of a showing to attract survival money after the early delegates are claimed. Cash should be flying hot and heavy in all directions. The combination of almost 20 serious candidates and a front-loaded schedule are unprecedented. We will all be sitting back and watching history being made, with the exception of broadcast traffic managers, who may well need counseling once this blows over.