Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds is focusing on news reports of a master’s thesis written by his Republican opponent, Bob McDonnell, in two out of three television ads that are running throughout the state as the clock ticks down in the campaign. This includes the pricey Washington DC market which reaches residents of Northern Virginia and has been prime Democratic territory in recent election successes in the state.
The thesis contained controversial statements about women, marriage other issues, including the opinion that women should stay at home rather than work. McDonnell has tried to distance himself from the 20-year-old thesis, but Deeds uses at least one ad to connect McDonnell actions in the Virginia government to opinions contained in it.
Deeds uses the third ad in a more generic manner, pointing out his love of the state and ability to bring people together.
Besides Washington, key Virginia markets include Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News, Richmond, Roanoke-Lynchburg and a handful of smaller markets.
The McDonnell campaign has characterized the ads as negative and desperate.
RBR-TVBR observation: There is no reason to think that McDonnell will dignify these ads with a direct response (although he has distanced himself from many of the points in his thesis, pointing out that his own wife and daughters are in the workforce). But there is every reason to believe that he will get his own message up on the airwaves. If you’re in local media, you just gotta love these off-year battleground elections.