Stutzman, Hayhurst Look To Score Points, Votes In New Round Of Ads

By Jeff Neumeyer

October 11, 2010 Updated Oct 11, 2010 at 6:18 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- The Republican and Democrat running to replace Mark Souder in Congress are rolling out new television ads, each hoping to saddle their opponent with a less than flattering label that could steal votes in the November 2nd election.

Republican Marlin Stutzman wants to tie Democrat Tom Hayhurst to his party’s leadership on Capitol Hill and in the White House, leadership that is being blamed for going overboard on government spending.

Hayhurst, meanwhile, is trying to convince voters that Stutzman doesn’t deserve the title of being a true conservative.

In a new Stutzman political ad, you see quick shots of President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that are squeezed in between bold type messages, such as, "The federal government is bankrupting us", and "Stop the Spending".

It takes a full 16 seconds before you finally see Marlin Stutzman pop up, and at no time do you ever see or hear about Hayhurst.

Andy Downs says tying Hayhurst to Pelosi, Obama, and other Democratic Party leaders is predictable, but effective strategy.

Andy Downs/Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics: " Since those are people who don't have particularly high approval ratings right now, it's a very common thing for people to be doing right now and the ad does it reasonably well. It's a style that some people don't like because it's a little too aggressive, the text moves a little much, so it's a little hard for some people to read, but it certainly delivers the message and it does so in a relatively ominous way, which is what they're trying to do."

Meanwhile, Hayhurst takes dead aim at Stutzman’s conservative roots in a recent ad.

The Hayhurst commercial starts with Stutzman talking about the need for a return to true conservative values, then the narrator breaks in, and derides Stutzman for a 2009 vote in the Indiana State Senate, in which he backed an unemployment insurance premium hike for certain larger Hoosier businesses.

Downs thinks it hit the target.

Andy Downs/Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics: " First, it actually does bring up a tax increase, and he's somebody who pledged to never raise taxes. The second thing that the Stutzman camp probably doesn't like is, they now have to explain something and this is one of those issues that's not so simple that you can explain it in five seconds. It takes a little longer to do that and when you're running a campaign, you always hope the other side has to be explaining something they've done."

Stutzman does have an explanation.

He maintains the Senate vote was the right thing to do, because the state Unemployment Insurance Fund was broke, and that many smaller businesses actually got taxed less in the end.

But that's complicated, and again, it was a tax hike, and politicians will always have explaining to do anytime they support a tax hike, no matter how reasoned that tax increase might appear to be.

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