Just when you thought the political ads were over, there’s this TV ad that features U.S. Senator Kay Hagan.
“Senator Kay Hagan can make energy a big part of improving our economy. She can choose economic growth and American jobs, not slow them with job-killing energy taxes,” says a female voice as images of workers interspersed with shots of Hagan appear on the screen.
The American Petroleum Institute paid for the ad. Hagan is one of a handful of Senate Democrats the group singles out in this ad campaign. The others include Mark Warner of Virginia, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and Tom Udall of New Mexico. API’s Brian Johnson explains why.
“In the past these members have shown some level of support for increased access, however, their tax positions have been contrary to a position that would allow the industry to grow,” says Johnson.
In Hagan’s case, that means she’s supported expanding the Keystone Pipeline, but is open to repealing tax breaks for the oil industry. The other thing, these senators have in common is that they’re all up for election in 2014. So the ads are meant to turn up the pressure.
These types of ads are called “issue ads.” Bruce Haynes has helped make many of them for the communications firm Purple Strategies. He says you should expect plenty more of them in the coming year.
“The stakes are so high for some of these environmental groups on climate or business groups on things like fiscal cliff and energy policy, so they are going to invest in trying to educate voters and encouraging voters to talk to members of Congress about those issues because it’s good business for them,” says Haynes.
Oil Change International, a group advocating for repealing oil industry tax breaks, plans to launch its own ads soon. But we may not see them in North Carolina. The group’s director Steve Kretzmann points out his budget isn’t nearly the size of API’s.