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Aug 10, 2004 2:56 pm

Candidates and Television

Today is primary day in Colorado, and the scheduled runoff for the Democratic nomination to US Senate in Georgia. In an age when we speak of the importance of television advertising, we might witness an unprecedented event: two Senate nominees winning without running even one ad on their own in the campaign.

In Georgia, first-term Representative Denise Majette, who captured 41% of the vote in the primary, appears likely to defeat first-time candidate Cliff Oxford in the runoff. Majette hopes to become the first African-American to be elected to the Senate from the Old Confederacy, although she has little chance of winning if she gets the nomination. She's run a shoestring campaign throughout, and even now didn't have enough money to pay for ads in the runoff. Web reports this morning suggest an extremely light turnout, which should help Majette.

In Colorado, meanwhile, former Rep. Bob Schaffer appears poised for a major upset in the GOP Senate race, where the frontrunner throughout has been beer magnate Pete Coors. Like Majette, Schaffer's candidacy has struggled to raise money, but unlike Majette, there have been TV ads run on his behalf. Using the 527 loophole in the McCain-Feingold act, a group of high-powered Colorado conservatives led by former senator Bill Armstrong have organized an"independent" committee, Colorado Conservative Voters. CCV ads have slammed Coors for his support for lowering the drinking age to 18 and for Coors' Beer's policy of extending benefits to partners of its gay employees. The last pre-preimary poll had Schaffer up by 1 point. A victory for him could have major ramifications in the battle for the Senate, in that it would make the Dems favored to pick up the Colorado seat.

Majette and Schaffer victories wouldn't signal a downturn in TV's importance, of course. But they would suggest alternative paths for statewide success.

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Van L. Hayhow - 8/10/2004

Schafer might beat Coors? There is a beer ad in there somewhere.

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