It’s like a bad recurring rash, i.e., the complaint about “negative” ads, or as I like to call them: informative.
The latest comes from Gromer Jeffers at the Dallas Morning News regarding the recent Republican primary in Senate District 16:
Huffines, part of the family that owns area car dealerships, has considerable campaign resources and has used them to drag Carona through the mud.
What’s dragging the incumbent through the mud you might ask?
He’s criticized the senator for political issues and ethical questions, saying the incumbent has used his perch in the Legislature to shepherd laws that helped his property management business.
So, bringing up information which has already been verified and discussed in the media - see here - is dragging him through the mud. Yes, the Godfather mail piece was probably pretty cheeky, but humor and cheekiness don’t undermine the information.
If the information wasn’t factual, then perhaps there would be grounds for complaint; however, the facts of the ads were never disputed.
Then there is the well worn canard that negative advertising drives down turnout:
For Huffines, the idea is to not only aim at Carona’s support base, but to use the attacks to suppress the vote.
Actually, negative ads have no impact on turnout or a slight positive effect (see here and here).
The claim that negative ads reduce turn out is particularly egregious in this instance, since the incumbent hasn’t had a primary opponent since he was elected in 1996. In 2012, twenty-nine thousand people voted in the SD16 primary. This year 49,637 individuals voted. This was more than voted in the CD 32 primary where Pete Sessions was challenged by TEA Party activist Katrina Pierson (Source).
Past posts on this topic:
Attacking Negative Ads
Do Negative Ads Make A Difference?