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Location: Huntington, WV, United States

I'm a 37 year-old guy from Huntington, WV.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Local TV commercial round up: 2007 Kentucky gubernatorial race.

For some odd reason, Kentucky elects its governors in the years between midterm and presidential elections and, today, our neighbors to the west hit the polls for their gubernatorial primary elections. Since the Hunt-Chas. TV market has a large portion of its audience in the Bluegrass State, West Virginians from Kenova to Cowen get to watch the "excitement" unfold in the form of crappy-to-tolerable TV commercials.

This time around, it seems that the candidates are carefully targeting their audiences and advertising dollars. The eastern Kentucky electorate is primarily made up of socially-conservative, pro-labor Democrats with a sprinkling of newly-converted "values voter" Republicans. When these folks extinguish their cigarettes and file into schools, fire stations, and post offices across the state, most of them will will go to one of several booths marked "Democrat," while a few will brush aside the cobwebs on their way towards the "Republican" lever (this should sound familiar to my fellow West Virginians, except with dipping tobacco).

The two GOP front runners, incumbent Gov. Ernie Fletcher and Rep. Anne Northup, are concentrating on the Republican strongholds in suburban Cincinnati and the western part of the state. Businessman Billy Harper, on the other hand, was running commercials in the market as early as the 2006 election. Harper's ads often show him in a drag racing hot rod and tout his conservative credentials, such as a "no new taxes pledge" (warning to Mr. Harper: that's bitten Republicans in the ass before). He is certainly trying to play the roll of the outsider, but polls suggest that it ain't working. Even John McCain's 2000 "Straight Talk Express" had a coat or two of polish slapped on the bus, a characteristic that Harper is almost proud of completely lacking. The race has really come down to whether or not Northup (with Harper's inadvertent help) can keep Fletcher from getting 40% of the and thereby force a heads-up run-off. However, I'm guessing that---after tomorrow night---Harper will go back to building infrastructure, Northup will be heading back to D.C. to work on immigration, and Fletcher will be waiting to find out the identity of his November opponent.

The Democrats, on the other hand, have dumped a fair sized chunk o' change into the coffers of WSAZ and WOWK to reach the sizable Democratic electorate between Maysville, Ashland, and Prestonsburg (home of several talented country artists AND Billy Ray Cyrus, by the way).

The most visible Dems in the on local TV have been former Lt. Gov. Steve Beshear and Lousville businessman Bruce Lunsford. Both have running mates from eastern Kentucky that have been featured heavily in local commercials in order to show that they have made an effort to balance the ticket between the east and the west. While they will likely finish one-two, it is doubtful that either will get the necessary 40% to prevent a run-off next month. Expect both to keep slugging it out through election night and into June.

Another former Lt. Gov., Steve Henry, is also in the mix, but he got into the advertising mix late and has mainly focused on buying air freshener from Kentucky, not Chicago, businesses (*yawn*).

Personally, I'm really pumped for this round of campaigning to end. As a West Virginia voter, if I wanted to follow an election where my opinion will be meaningless, I'd go read up on the upcoming presidential primaries, where WV votes damn near last.
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