Well, why not? If Christine O’Donnell has the cash to buy three separate blocs of 30 minutes each, as Roll Call reported late yesterday, there is not much time to spend it any other way, or with any more effect. The first two will run today and the final one on Tuesday, and give O’Donnell a chance to make an unfiltered, extensive final argument for victory tomorrow:
Christine O’Donnell’s GOP Senate campaign is buying three 30-minute television ads for the final stretch, she announced Sunday at a Tea Party Express rally, where she insisted that the race is closer than it seems.
She has purchased the three ads, to air Sunday night and at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday, with the financial help of the tea party movement to showcase stories she hears on the campaign trail. “Tell everyone to tune in,” she said.
Roll Call’s schedule is off. According to a press release from Team O’Donnell, the spots will run at 11 am and 3 PM today and again on Tuesday, on Delaware 28’s cable channel in New Castle County and on their website.
Roll Call recalls that Barack Obama did the same thing before his election, and Obama wound up winning big. However, Obama had likely been ahead for most of the general election anyway. The ads allowed Obama to go above the heads of the political media, though, which may have helped with voters truly on the fence.
The investment may be more significant than the message itself. Most people have thoroughly dismissed the Delaware race, but lately, her opponent has gotten some high-profile visitors on the campaign trail, including the man who won the seat in the last election, Vice President Joe Biden. O’Donnell says not to count her out yet, and that Biden’s decision to campaign in Delaware rather than other presumably closer Senate races shows that her big investment is worth the money:
O’Donnell argued Sunday that she’s winning first-time voters who aren’t included in polls and that Democrats are worried, pointing to Vice President Joseph Biden’s scheduled appearance at a rally Monday for her Democratic rival, Chris Coons, as evidence.
“They wouldn’t spend the day before Election Day in Delaware if they didn’t know it was tight,” O’Donnell said as about 1,000 conservatives from Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania cheered along the Christina River waterfront.
That’s not a bad point. If Coons has that big of a lead, why isn’t Biden in Nevada or Washington today, where a big intervention might save a seat? At this point Biden might be an albatross for Harry Reid, but Patty Murray has to be wondering why she’s not seeing any big guns helping her close the deal against Dino Rossi in the final hours, while the presumably-safe Coons gets all the attention.
Perhaps the race is a little tighter than anyone thinks.
Addendum: If O’Donnell has this much cash left at the end, doesn’t that argue that her campaign has been pretty self-sufficient and that the outside and inside organizations made a good call in putting their cash elsewhere at the end of the cycle?
Update: BGoldman in the comments answers my “why not?”
Because 30-minute infomercials are a stupid, lousy, inefficient buy – especially at 11 AM and 3 PM, which are not exactly peak viewing hours(except for stay-at-home parents and shutins), and especially not on just one channel. Better to have put the media dollars (and the production dollars that would have been saved) into saturating the cable system, across all channels, with 30-second spots.
The problem with that is that those spots are already sold. Media buys take place a couple of weeks in advance even for last-minute decisions. If O’Donnell has that kind of money left now, she will have few options for spending it, at least on media. It could go to GOTV efforts, but if those are fully funded too, then again — why not the 30-minute spots?