Late attack ads had little effect

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Column by Jim Clark

The other day, I was watching a baseball game on television and a commercial came on. It was an attack ad by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) against Republican nominee Connie Mack.
It was about 11 weeks before the November election. I think I nearly cried. You mean we have nearly three months of this to go.
I was so glad to walk out to my mailbox last Tuesday, election day, and get nothing but a couple of bills (of course, you can throw the political ads away, you can’t do the same with the bills).
In the final days before the Aug. 14 primary, the nasty ads that came into the mailbox were a little bit disgusting.
Two of the worst were in the race for school superintendent on the Republican side. One ad against Jackie Porter asked, “Who IS pulling Jackie Porter’s strings?” It showed a hand with a puppet with Porter’s face. Then on the flip side of the mailed oversized card it said, “Certainly not Marion County Taxpapers, that’s for sure! …If she even bothers to show up, that is!”
It went on with various charges, some old.
Then there was the one that said , “George Tomyn can’t bring his ‘A’ game for our kids.” On the reverse side it gave him a “D” for things such as school performance while principal, running the school food service, the fact that he was supposedly passed up “more than thirty times” for promotion to principal, lsck of a private sector job and “accountability.”
The two ads were put out by a group or groups with two different names, but the same address … 235 E. Virginia St., in Tallahassee.
The only superintendent candidate on the ballot who wasn’t the subject of one of these attack ads was Wally Wagoner.
The voters, however, sent a message. The attack ad “victims” finished 1-2, and Wagoner finished a distant third. So much for the effectiveness of the ads.
The sheriff’s candidates weren’t immune to the advertising, either.
The same group from the same address in Tallahassee put out an anti-Chris Blair mailing that said “Double-Dippin’ Chris Blair wants an even sweeter deal from taxpayers.” It listed a payout, lifetime income and sheriff’s salary. It had a picture of a little girl looking over a dropped ice cream cone with three scoops on the ground.
Another mailing from Tallahassee, this one from 1700 N. Monroe St., took on Dan Kuhn, saying, “A legacy of law enforcement failure” and “There’s a new sheriff coming to town. Dan Kuhn doesn’t measure up.”
Well, there is a new sheriff coming, and probably his name is Dan Kuhn, and the voters thought he measured up.
Two incumbent county commissioners were also the subject of attack ads, and one of them lost. Mike Amsden was accused of “20 years of failed leadership” that “has cost taxpayers millions of $$.” That one came from Citizens for Honesty in Government, 5400 S.W. College Road, Suite 302-152, Ocala. Amsden lost to David Moore.
There was also an ad against Stan McClain that said, “How has our Community Been Affected by Politician Stan McClain’s Failed Policies.” This one came from Citizens for a Quality Life, 1824 N.E. 2nd Ave., Ocala. McClain won the primary.
That was all in the final few days before the election.
Many of the candidates had positive mailings and, while I can’t stand getting all that stuff in the mail, at least it wasn’t insulting to me as a voter.
So here we go, getting ready for the general election. If you thought the local attacks were bad, now you get to throw in the federal people.
My biggest decision is which garbage can to throw this material in. Are the political ads recyclable? I sure hope not.
Jim Clark is editor of the South Marion Citizen.

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