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Governor Kasich Officially Initiates Ad Wars...But Avoids Name Of Presumptive Challenger

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Ohio’s gubernatorial contest is officially on. Incumbent Governor John Kasich has launched his first ad for major markets and online audiences. And as ideastream’s Brian Bull reports, the minute-long ad, titled “Deliver”, makes no mention of Kasich’s likely Democratic challenger.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 6:32 pm

The first half shows sweeping shots of western Pennsylvania rendered in a washed-out bluish tint, like old Polaroid images, recounting Kasich’s personal history with Ohio.

NARRATOR: “He grew up in a hardworking steel town along the Ohio River….it was here John Kasich’s father carried the mail on his back six days a week….his grandfather worked in the coal mines. His mother was the daughter of immigrants….”

The ad then shifts to Kasich’s accomplishments while a Congressman….with his desk bathed in warm hues.

NARRATOR: “….here…he led a team that balanced the federal budget, and ignited an era of job growth…”

John Green of the Bliss Institute at the University of Akron says this ad is a classic biographical piece that highlights Kasich’s personal and professional legacy.

“It’s interesting that he doesn’t mention the Democrats, he doesn’t mention his presumptive opponent, but he also doesn’t mention Republicans! So this is a largely non-partisan ad.”

Green says that tone may change once the Ohio primaries are settled. But right now the ad is geared towards winning over a large audience, including undecided voters. As to why he’s not mentioning likely Democratic challenger Ed Fitzgerald by name…

“Typically early in campaigns, it is to the advantage of the incumbent to not do ANYTHING that attracts attention to a less well-known opponent," explains Green. "That creates name recognition. People suddenly know something about the candidate. Or people who’ve never heard of that person, may start wondering, ‘Well, why are they being attacked?’ They might want to know more information about them.”

Meanwhile, Fitzgerald’s campaign has decried the ad as distorting Kasich’s record on everything from labor to immigration.

A spokeswoman declined to comment on when a Fitzgerald ad would be hitting the airwaves.

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