We say “might,” because we really don’t know without seeing poll numbers in a few days after it’s had a chance to percolate around the state. But from a media attention standpoint, this Abraham ad unquestionably has worked and it’s not even noon on the first day it’s running.
Here’s the spot…
It’s something of a sequel to a radio ad Abraham ran on talk stations around the state last month where he did a similar list of quick takes designed to irritate the Left and signal to conservative and moderate voters that he’s with them first and foremost on cultural issues but also on the hot button political stuff affecting the state.
That radio spot created a little bit of buzz, but not enough to really get things going. But when Abraham put out the bait on TV this morning, things popped nicely.
Particularly with the “two genders” comment, which is the least controversial statement on the list. But you wouldn’t know that from the way it got thrown around on national media.
There’s the Washington Free Beacon’s pickup, which noted that the “two genders” thing actually does have an application to Louisiana politics, because of the state-contracts thing we’ve talked about several times here at The Hayride…
Edwards, the current governor, in 2016 issued an executive order that mandated state businesses to accommodate employees who choose to identify as a different gender than the one they were born with. The Louisiana Supreme Court ultimately deemed his executive order unconstitutional and ruled against him.
There’s USA Today, which immediately branded Abraham a homophobe, or something.
Abraham has a history of controversial standpoints on the rights of LGBT people. He opposed same-sex marriage after the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized it in 2015.
In 2017, Abraham was the co-introducer of legislation that proposed requiring Congressional approval before the government makes any changes to their definitions of “sex” and “gender” or include “gender identity” as a protected class. This was in response to the Obama administration’s Title IX guidance that transgender students be allowed to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identities.
Louisiana’s Supreme Court ruled last year that an executive order attempting to add protections for LGBT individuals in employment was unconstitutional, according to The Advocate. The order was issued by the current governor, John Bel Edwards.
Newsmax grabbed the ad. So did NBC News, which picked up an AP blurb that said Abraham “takes aim at transgender rights” in the spot. That same news hook appeared at the Washington Post, New York Times, WWL-TV, and POLITICO.
Fox News’ Todd Starnes called it “the best 30-second campaign ad I’ve seen in a very long time,” and called the takes in the ad “truth bombs.”
Of course, the Mean Girls running communications for Edwards’ re-election team weren’t as excited…
"I will always tell you the truth" says the wealthy guy that promised to donate his Congressional salary to St. Jude's and then secretly started taking home the money. #lagov #lalege https://t.co/uYRHWHOSRD
— Eric Holl (@FrederickHoll) August 22, 2019
— Zach Hudson (@zach_hudson) August 22, 2019
Perhaps there is some polling somewhere which indicates voters find something wrong in giving over $300,000 to St. Jude. For the life of us we can’t understand why these people continue to regurgitate such a transparently lame attack.
You’ll notice, though, that the Mean Girls haven’t touched the two-genders statement. There’s a reason for that, obviously, which is that the vast majority of the voters in Louisiana, including a pretty overwhelming proportion of Edwards’ base, is not on board with the idea that there are more than two genders, and Edwards’ camp is also not overly eager for the voting public to revisit the lawsuits he lost to Attorney General Jeff Landry over his attempts to force businesses contracting with state government to adopt protections for transgenders.
It’s a good bet Landry will spend some time reminding those voters, though.
In any event, Abraham’s got a spot which managed to generate some buzz, and that’s one way to leverage your ad budget into increased public attention.