In Focus

Are campaign ads in US Senate race negative?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Early voting is already underway in the heated runoff for U.S. Senate.

As the actual election day draws closer, campaign ads cut a little deeper, despite claims from the candidates that they are keeping it clean.

Since June 23, the two Senate candidates and outside groups supporting Ted Cruz have spent $815,000 on ads at this television station alone. And we are just one station in one Texas city. It's good for us -- don't get me wrong -- but what about for voters? And if it's so good for the campaign, why are the candidates reluctant to admit what voters already know?

Like mosquitoes after a week of rain, these ads are everywhere. But you can't spray 'em or swat 'em away. You can't even shout over them hoping to drown them out.

The one thing voters are telling us with a week until election day in this Senate campaign is enough already.

"I don't like that they're attacking each other," one voter told us.

But now finally some good news. Cruz and David Dewhurst tell us they aren't running any negative ads on TV. Seriously, with straight faces, that's what they told us Monday.

"We have not once engaged in the nasty false personal attacks that have characterized David Dewhurst's campaign," Cruz told us.

Six hours later though, thousands of Houstonians saw an ad paid for by Cruz. And just a few minutes later, they saw an ad brought to you by Dewhurst.

"You're not taking your negative ads down?" we asked Dewhurst.

"We don't have a negative ad up," he said.

"Semantics," we said.

"No, we don't have a negative ad that's running," he said.

Of course not. Only in politics can you call your opponent a liar, or bad for Texas or a dirty business man and somehow it's not a negative ad. In 2012 politics, they have a neat word for it -- a comparison ad

"We have a comparison ad, but it's very, very light, very, very light," Dewhurst said.

"A straight forward comparison of his record and my record," Cruz said.

Are they true? Fact checkers are all over the track on these ads.

While voters may tell us the ads turn them off, they may be working. Voters are showing up to vote in big numbers this week. More than twice as many Harris County Republicans voted in the first two days of early voting as compared to the primary two months ago.

(Copyright ©2014 KTRK-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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