So, RI’s political watchers are in a tizzy over an attack ad released by Angel Taveras’ campaign against Clay Pell. Here’s the ad, and you won’t believe how vicious it is:
Right? It’s a goddamn bloodbath.
Some are reading this as surefire proof that Clay Pell is a force to be reckoned with, specifically that he threatens to eat into Taveras’ base of support or the ABR (Anybody But Raimondo) vote. The Pell campaign is definitely spinning it their way. And the obvious beneficiary is, of course, Gina Raimondo.
In case you didn’t catch my sarcasm, I think the ad is kind of lame. It doesn’t really hit Pell with anything hard. I’m not sure how many voters are really going to be turned off by the didn’t vote in the primary message. And as a counterpoint to Pell’s statement “this is the place I care about” it doesn’t really seem to hit hard. I mean, if you could contrast that with footage of Pell calling Rhode Island a dump and its people idiots, that would be an attack ad.
The blubbering Pell at the opening is waaay better. 30 seconds of that, with a slogan like “Do you want four years of this?” could probably do some damage.
It’s not like Taveras really has a choice but to air attack ads, just as Raimondo doesn’t have a choice but to air attack ads against the highly-popular Taveras. Pell has millions of dollars to blow on this on ads that present a polished, positive version of himself. As a friend of mine remarked about Pell, “he’s a rich white man. Of course he has a chance to be governor.” This election is proof of that reality.
Here’s a good attack ad that counterpoints a candidate’s statement against competing statements:
P.S. GoLocalProv is angry that Taveras didn’t give them the credit for the Pell primary vote story, instead attributing it to a real March 9th story in The Journal. A better person than I might be sympathetic to them.