Campaigns Taking to TV During State of the Union

Congressional campaigns use Tuesday night address to communicate with voters

Former State Department official Sara Jacobs’ campaign is launching an introductory spot on CNN and MSNBC starting Tuesday night. The California Democrat is running for the seat being vacated by GOP Rep. Darrell Issa.  (Screenshot/Sara Jacobs for Congress)

It’s not just President Donald Trump whom Americans will see on TV Tuesday night.

A handful of congressional candidates hoping to take advantage of a politically captive audience are going on air, with mostly small advertising buys, before or after the State of the Union broadcast.

Outside groups are also using the evening to push their message on the airwaves. 

Wisconsin Democrat Randy Bryce, who’s challenging Speaker Paul D. Ryan, will be in Washington, D.C, to attend the State of the Union Tuesday night.

Back in Wisconsin, his campaign is going on TV with an ad tying Trump to Ryan. The spot will run in Milwaukee and Madison and less often in San Francisco and Seattle. (Most of his individual campaign contributions from the third quarter fundraising came from California and New York.) The ad will run once nationally on MSNBC. The total buy is $50,000.

Former State Department official Sara Jacobs is running as a Democrat for the open California seat being vacated by GOP Rep. Darrell Issa. Her campaign is launching an introductory spot on CNN and MSNBC starting Tuesday night and continuing for three weeks. It will air during Sunday morning news programs on broadcast stations in the San Diego media market. 

Several Texas Democrats are going on the air Tuesday. Texas’ congressional primaries, on March 6, are the first in the nation. 

Former federal prosecutor Jay Hulings is running for the Democratic nomination to take on GOP Rep. Will Hurd in the 23rd District. He’s debuting two ads on Tuesday — one in English and one in Spanish. The ads are digital spots with a $40,000 TV component, according to a source with knowledge of the buy. 

Also in the 23rd District, Iraq war veteran Gina Ortiz Jones, a Democrat, launched a spot that highlights her mother’s battle with cancer. A campaign spokesperson said it’s currently airing on TV but declined to provide information on the size of the buy or where it’s running.

Elsewhere in Texas, attorney Alex Triantaphyllis released a 15-second ad that’s running on cable in Houston. The Democrat is running for the nomination to take on GOP Rep. John Culberson

Democrat Ed Meier, who’s running for the nomination in the 32nd District, is running a five-figure TV ad beginning Tuesday night, featuring his father, a former pediatric surgeon. A source with knowledge of the buy couldn’t say whether it was running on cable or broadcast. 

The National Republican Congressional Committee on Tuesday launched two TV ads for the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th District. The first attacks Democratic nominee Conor Lamb, while the second is a positive spot highlighting GOP nominee Rick Saccone.

American Action Network, an issue advocacy group with close ties to House GOP leadership, is airing a TV ad about the GOP tax plan before and after the Tuesday night address. The ad splices together Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s negative comments about the GOP tax plan with positive statements about the law. It’s a $1 million national TV and digital buy. 

Cable viewers in Washington, D.C., will see a new ad about the GOP tax plan from the liberal group Not One Penny. The five-figure ad splices Trump’s words together to cast the tax law as beneficial to the wealthy. 

Bridget Bowman contributed to this report. 

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