A perk of being able to self-fund your campaign to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars is you can get up on TV early and often with slickly-cut spots. Case in point today: Robert Blaha, who is running in a primary against incumbent Congressman Doug Lamborn in CO Springs-based CD5. Today Blaha released, what appears from his website, to be his fourth TV ad in the primary. Considering the primary is nearly four months away that’s a ton of exposure so early on.
Kurtis Lee of The Denver Post reports this latest flight cost $75,000.
Check it out here:
This ad highlights what is the central challenge to Blaha's campaign, namely that his opponent's voting record matches up with the district. Blaha doesn’t even mention Lamborn in the spot, nor any of his votes.
Blaha has decided to run his campaign against what he calls Lamborn's lack of leadership in Washington, rather than his voting record. It would be impossible to run to the right of a Congressman who last week received another 100% rating from the American Conservative Union (ACU), one of only 14 members of Congress to receive the perfect score.
Or as Dick Wadhams told Kurtis Lee: "A cold, hard political reality is that Lamborn's a proven conservative, and has proven it time and again," Wadhams said. "I'm not sure what (Blaha's) winning formula is."
The question around Blaha's candidacy is whether CD5 primary voters will see a reason to toss Lamborn. Lamborn is not known for being particularly outspoken or influential in Washington. The biggest national splash he has made in the last year was for skipping the State of the Union address and indirectly referring to Obama as a "tar baby." Not exactly positive PR.
While the mainstream press poked Lamborn for both moves, it is entirely possible that smacking Obama may well have helped him in the very conservative 5th CD. We know this much about El Paso County: there, Obama is persona non grata, so Lamborn’s sharp sticks may actually reinforce his conservative calling card.
Lamborn has also used his role as a subcommittee chairman to speak out on energy issues, successfully getting his oil shale bill through the House. Blaha’s attack that Lamborn isn’t the most outspoken conservative in Washington no doubt has merit, but there are aspects of Lamborn’s record that will make it a harder sell than Blaha expects.
With money like Blaha's, the voters will certainly know who he is and hear his campaign message.
But Lamborn will be tough to beat, as he has patched up some old conflicts and is not shy to do what it takes to win.
Whether Blaha’s message resonates we'll see. Lamborn has successfully dispatched primary contenders before, but never ones with the resources of Blaha.