Very interesting news from the Mark Levine for Congress campaign:
Starting May 20th, the Levine for Congress campaign will spend a minimum of several hundred thousand dollars over the next three weeks on TV alone. This buy makes Mark Levine the first of the 8th District candidates to purchase air time on broadcast television.…Devine Mulvey Longabaugh will be producing the campaign’s video ads in coordination with JVA Campaigns who will be executing an aggressive direct mail strategy.
This is interesting for several reasons. First, by doing this, Levine clearly is showing that he’s willing to spend a large amount of money – much of which is his own – to compete in the 8th CD Democratic primary. It’s often a question with candidates who loan themselves money in the first quarter whether they’ll actually spend it in the second quarter – in the campaign’s closing weeks. The reason it’s a big question is that wealthy candidates often loan themselves money early on to make themselves look like serious candidates, but then see they have no “path to victory” and decide not to spend the money after all.
In Levine’s case, he apparently believes that spending this money can help him become a serious contender in the last three weeks of the 8th CD Democratic primary. We’ll see if it works, but whatever else, it takes some chutzpah to do it. It’s also certainly “aggressive,” which seems appropriate for the candidate who calls himself the “aggressive progressive” in this race.
Also making this ad interesting is Levine’s emphasis on being a unique candidate, a la Barney Frank and Elizabeth Warren, in what is otherwise a “Sea of Politicians.” Levine continues his emphasis on not running from a fight and having a “strong voice to stand out from the crowd.” In this ad, he specifically pledges to work to reverse Citizens United – thus putting corporate influence on our nation’s political system front and center in his campaign (rightfully so, I’d argue, as this is the root of a a great deal of really bad stuff that’s been happening in our country) – and to strengthen the Voting Rights Act (also crucial to combat Republican voter suppression efforts against African Americans, such as Gov. Pat McCrory has done in North Carolina, and as Gov. Bob McDonnell did to a lesser extent here in Virginia). We’ll see if this message resonates with younger, well-educated “Obama coalition” voters.
Anyway, this should be a fascinating final three weeks of the 8th CD Democratic primary campaign. From what I’ve been hearing (and seeing in Blue Virginia’s own polling), Don Beyer maintains a strong lead in the race right now. The question is, can one of the other candidates mount a strong challenge to him in the final three weeks? It seems to me that if that’s possible, it’s going to require a major media campaign, such as Mark Levine has just launched. Will any other candidate(s) do that? If not, I’d argue it’s going to be tough for them to move up significantly. Not that paid media’s the “be all/end all” or anything, but it may just be a “necessary” if not “sufficient” condition for becoming a serious threat in this race.