Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Behind the Ad: The power of bleak comes to New Jersey's 12th

By Richard K. Barry

Who: Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula.

Where: New Jersey's 12th Congressional District.

What's going on: The New Jersey 12th is currently represented by Democratic Rep. Rush Holt. Holt first won election to the House in 1999 but has decided he's had enough, announcing in February that he would not seek re-election in 2014. Holt sought the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in the 2013 special primary election to fill the seat of Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died in office in June of last year, but lost to Newark Mayor Cory Booker.

In 2012, Holt won re-election to his House seat with 69.2 percent of the vote. Some people describe the district as leaning Democratic. Charlie Cook calls it solidly Democratic. I suppose without an incumbent in a midterm year it could be closer this time.

So far, Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, State Sen. Linda Greenstein, Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula, and South Brunswick resident Andrew Zwicker are seeking the Democratic nomination. The primary is on June 3.

I haven't seen any polling, and am not sure any has been done.

According to local press reports, the Democratic nominee will likely face off against Republican candidate Alieta Eck in the general election.

The ad below is for Democratic candidate Upendra Chivukula. Of interest is that Mark Putnam, who is doing some very nice ads for Sen. Mark Begich (D) in Alaska, did this one for Chivukula. 

As Daily Kos describes it:
It's a very stark ad featuring grim black-and-white urban scenes in which Chivukula, who was born in India, describes his native country as a bleak place with "no minimum wage, no equality for women, no Social Security, and no Medicare" -- and "no way up." Chivukula warns that "we cannot let it happen here."

Grade: Stark indeed. I don't know that Garden Staters will necessarily respond well to the idea that their fortunes could slide so badly. Perhaps they should, but I don't know that they will. I like the idea of the ad, and I know voters can be effectively frightened. But I'm on the fence as to whether or not New Jerseyans will relate to this approach. B-

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