US Senate candidates go on the attack in new round of ads

US Senate candidates go on the attack in new round of ads

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - With less than two weeks until Election Day, candidates to replace David Vitter in the U.S. Senate are quickly shelling out big bucks on campaign ads, flooding local television stations with the promotions.

The campaign has largely flown under the radar, hiding behind big news headlines in the Baton Rouge area.

"People around this part of the state have multiple things that they're juggling, so you have to do everything to make them remember you, because politics is not their top priority of most people right now," said media analyst Clay Young.

Although there are 23 candidates, most of the ads are coming from the top contenders, all vying to get into the runoff. Even though it is an open primary, where all candidates compete for those top two spots, the Republicans appear to be focusing on knocking out the other Republicans, while the Democrats are going after the other Democrats.

Most of those lagging behind in recent polls have adopted an aggressive tactic in attempts to tear down their opponent and make up ground. For example, Caroline Fayard has produced an ad attacking fellow Democrat Foster Campbell, attempting to link him to David Duke.

"In a recent forum, Campbell even sided with Duke," the ad says before playing a clip of Campbell speaking at a forum: "I might be like Mr. Duke."

The ad has raised eyebrows.

"It is a gamble that campaigns often make. It's not one I would endorse. Because if it works, it works by a narrow margin. If it backfires, it backfires by the size of a gulf," said Young, who believes the ad may not have been the best move from the Fayard team.

Campbell, who has used recent ads to tout his endorsement from Gov. John Bel Edwards, said the comment in Fayard's ad was taken out of context. He even released an ad saying as much.

"Caroline Fayard's attack on Foster Campbell is a lie. Fayard has a history of lying," the ad begins, before talking about his desire to create equal pay for women.

On the Republican side, Charles Boustany is also on the attack but is using a different, more humor-based approach. In his most recent ad,
he compares Republican front-runner John Kennedy to a dog

"Since 1991, he's been a publicity hound, he races to the cameras with corny sound bites," says the ad.

"Charles Boustany is obviously trying to do everything he can to nip John Kennedy and using everything in his arsenal to get into a runoff with one of the Democrats," said political analyst Jim Engster.

Meanwhile, Kennedy has largely avoided direct attacks at his opponents but has left viewers with what analysts have described as "memorable" lines.

"Congressmen are like throat lozenges. Soothing words, but they never solve the underlying problem," Kennedy says in one ad, looking
directly at the camera

"You hit us, we'll hit you back twice as hard, and your buddies, and your goat," he says in another ad, talking about members of ISIS.

Young said these ads show him to be both "folksy and smart."

"It is that formula that has made him so popular in Louisiana," Young said.

With the countdown to Election Day now in full gear, analysts say expect to see many more ads, all of which will likely fit into a similar pattern.

"Those in front will probably be good soldiers and not go negative. Those behind will go negative. That's just the nature of the beast," Engster said.

Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 8.

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