(WTNH) – Television ad buys in the 2022 midterm election cycle are reaching new highs thanks to competitive primaries for the U.S. Senate and hotly contested gubernatorial races.
According to a new report by the Wesleyan Media Project from May 9 through June 19, 2022, Democratic gubernatorial candidates spent a third of their television ads talking about abortion.
In the same time period, Republican gubernatorial candidates have spent 43 percent of their ad buys mentioning taxes.
The latest salvo in Connecticut’s governor’s race centers on abortion and the business climate.
Governor Ned Lamont has made creating jobs and bringing companies to Connecticut one of his top priorities. Launching this TV ad – an open invitation to businesses in states now banning abortion considering the Supreme Court overturning Roe vs Wade.
In the ad Governor, Lamont looks into the camera and says “your customers can better identify with our values.”
In response, Lamont’s Republican challenger Bob Stefanowski released a digital ad.
An announcer asks: “Where does Lamont’s family set up its new business?”
There is a clip of Governor Lamont from a 2021 interview: “Annie is in Nashville setting up companies there because Connecticut is pretty complicated.”
The problem as the Stefanowski campaign points out is that abortions are now illegal in Tennessee, and they say Lamont is being a hypocrite.
The Governor lashed back. “That was a cheap shot that they took from a year ago,” said Lamont.
Lamont’s comments were made prior to the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling.
News 8 was there when he made them last November at a municipal convention.
Are they fair game in the election? Wesleyan Political Science Professor Erika Franklin Fowler says whether fair or not – it is a political tactic, but a risky one.
Prof. Erika Franklin Fowler, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project says “It seems like this attack maybe crosses a line into more of …there is certainly a policy element to it, but involving a candidate’s family is always, I think, typically perceived to be a personal attack.”
The Wesleyan Media Project is tracking political ads.
She says this rematch in the Governor’s race is blowing the 2018 advertising numbers out of the water an increase of 30 percent.
“You are having a competitive rematch and I think rematch. It enables both candidates to go up earlier,” added Fowler.
Meantime, the Lamont campaign fired back at Stefanowski claiming the ad is a false attack.
And accusing the Republican of laying off workers and attacking women’s rights.
“This is a governor who in his race with Dan Malloy, Dan Malloy pointed out that Governor Lamont himself laid off 70% of the workers in Lamont cable system and then paid himself a big bonus that year,” said Bob Stefanowski. “The second part of that, I have come out and said it a million times. Abortion is codified in a Connecticut state law. I think Connecticut’s state law is where it should be.”
Stefanowski challenges the idea that businesses are moving here because of the abortion issue.
Lamont says stable tax rates and his open invitation are working.
The Democrat told reporters, “We have had inquiries from businesses out there.”
The Stefanowski ad is not on television and has only been seen on digital platforms.
Professor Fowler says Twitter is more about rapid response. And she says perhaps the “messaging” has not been tested yet. She says to watch for whether the candidates put any money behind promoting their statements on broadcast TV.