Air Battle: The Early Push Toward A Candidate, or Away From Voting?

By: Gordon Boyd
By: Gordon Boyd

Knoxville (WVLT) -Both major candidates for Bill Frist's Senate seat have covered a lot of issues when they've visited East Tennessee. But you wouldn't know it from the tone of their commercials.

Volunteer TV's Gordon body asks why so many spots, in so many races, have gone so harsh when the election's still five and a half weeks away?

The backlash has begun.

Signs pleading with voters to select "none of the above" are popping up all over Knoxville, a general sentiment with specific intent.

But the bigger picture is, the rules have changed.

"Good job? He's made Tennessee a Mecca for illegal aliens." one ad touts.

Have the ads gotten meaner, earlier?

"He's worth, over 200 million, took three pay raises for himself, and yet nothing for firefighters," a Ford ad says.

"I guess I kind of see it as noise because I already have my opinion made up," says Chris Domach.

"It's true. The INS found illegal workers on Bob Corkers construction site," says Democratic Senate Campaign Committee Spot.

"I'm more inclined to listen. I get tired of the negatives, negativenss of them, but I'm more inclined to listen, says Jeannie Matthews.

"...and led a corrupt and scandalous administration," argues one Jim Bryson spot.

"When you provoke emotions, whether strongly, positively or negatively, it makes people want to vote," but more than that, Media Consultant Mike Cohen says, we may have asked for it ourselves. "Starting October 18th, you've got a two and a half week period where people can vote. So that's made the need of when you have to be prepared for people to make a decision, a lot more difficult to manage."

"I pretty much knew whom I was gonna vote for, but I think it's really interesting to hear and see the differing opinions of the campaign," Jeannie figures a debate will tell her more than a spot.

But even there, Democratic Senate Candidate Harold Ford has called Republican Bob Corker a wimp, for refusing to schedule another debate in Knoxville.

"We did it twice in Knoxville during the primary; I will end up participating in 8 debates over the course of the campaign," Bob Corker, (R) Candidate for Senate tells WVLT.

"As Senator, who do you think he'll look out for?" a Ford spot says.

Corker believes most voters will know plenty when it's time to cast ballots.

"Harold Ford voted four times against funding for border agents," the Corker ad argues.

But Cohen figures the spots just make, "that much harder to be effective in government because people think that much less of Politicans and people in government."

Going away? Try 40 more days.

What point the "none of the above" signs are making is anybody's guess. The website they pitch, is at best, confusing.

What is clear is that Bob Corker, Harold Ford, the Republican National Committee, and the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee are paying prime dollar, in some cases, twice the going rate to bump other commercials out of their slots.


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