Campaign Ads in Midterms Spotlight VA Scandal

Thursday, 28 Aug 2014 11:14 PM

By Cathy Burke

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With the midterm election season about to unofficially kick off Labor Day weekend, the VA delayed care scandal is swamping all other issues on campaign advertising for dozens of House and Senate races this fall, ABC News reported Thursday.

Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group noted that during August over 13,000 airings of TV ads featured veterans' healthcare or benefits for 23 House races and 10 Senate races, ABC News reported.

In May, there were 3,405 airings of TV ads on the subject; in June 6,366 airings; and in July just over 8,000, the analysis showed.

"I’m struck by how many veterans-themed ads are popping up and really cannot think of any other issue this year… that started resonating in such a widespread way across so many races," Elizabeth Wilner, senior vice president at Kantar Media Intelligence, told ABC News.

Military service has always been a big bonus for candidates trying to make an impact on otters.

For example, ABC News reports, GOP nominee Dan Sullivan tells Alaskan voters in his first ad: "The Marine Corps shaped who I am."

Story continues below video.

Rep. Tom Cotton, who's running to unseat Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, brags about his Army service, saying: "Serious times deserve serious leaders."

Candidates without military credentials are jumping onto the VA care issue as well – and Republicans in particular are using ads to criticize the Obama administration, as well as their Democratic opponents, ABC News reported.

The first ad to mention the scandal was the Karl Rove-backed group Crossroads GPS, which aired in Alaska in May.

"A national disgrace," the narrator says. "Veterans died waiting for care that never came," with the spot reminding viewers their "Sen. Mark Begich sits on the Veterans Affairs Committee."

Begich aired ads of his own featuring veterans.

The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee is running an ad in Louisiana attacking GOP nominee Bill Cassidy, who's hoping to unseat incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu, of putting "millionaires before veterans."

In a tight Iowa race, Democrat Rep. Bruce Braley – running against National Guardsman Joni Ernst – ran an ad featuring another Guardsman praising Braley.

Braley takes a beating in a Crossroads ad about his missed meetings of the Veterans' Affairs committee.

In New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District, GOP state Rep. Marilinda Garcia lumps several Obama administration scandals together in her bid to win the Sept. 9 primary and take on incumbent Democratic Rep. Ann McLane Kuster

While in Florida’s 18th District, where ex-state Rep. Carl Domino is up against Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy, the incumbent speaks directly to the VA delayed care scandal in his first general election ad.

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