The Republican National Committee has committed over $1M to radio ad buys targeting 60 centrist Democrats in 33 states in an effort to scuttle President Obama’s health care initiative. They also brought television into the mix in three states, including Arkansas, Nevada and North Dakota. Meanwhile, the AMA is pursuing somewhat of a centrist campaign of its own.
In attempting to get centrists to vote with the Republicans, the RNC effort will tend to hit battleground areas, because those are the districts less likely to produce a candidate who can afford ideological purity. Centrists tend to win in districts where neither party has a strong upper hand.
Among the states expected to get an especially heavy does of RNC messaging were Pennsylvania, Ohio, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, North Carolina and Virginia, all of which are swing states.
Typical among the RNC’s targets are legislators like Heath Shuler (D-NC). He defeated an established Republican incumbent, in a district with a long history of Republican leanings, in the Democrat’s takeover of Congress in 2006. His Western NC district is not by any stretch of the imagination an enclave of urban liberalism, and the RNC would like to either get his vote or, even better, make him vulnerable so they can get his seat in 2010.
Meanwhile, the American Medical Association is running ads taking a pro-reform stance, without getting into specifics. They have things they want protected, such as the “sacred” doctor/patient relationship, and they want all Americans covered, among other things. Just to show there’s room for all media in this big issue, they’ll be building their campaign on newspaper and online advertising.
RBR/TVBR observation: Regardless of where you stand on the health care debate, if you’re a broadcaster, it is the gift that figures to keep on giving, especially now that the debate is more and more certain to outlast the summer.