Last week I wrote about the race between incumbent state Senator Margaret Sitte and her Democrat challenger Erin Oban. The occasion for the post was Oban’s television attack ad on Sitte, which was the first such thing in a North Dakota legislative race by my recollection.
Now another Democrat candidate for the state Senate is heading to the airwaves with an attack ad. Lisa Wolf, running in District 3 in Minot, is hitting incumbent Oley Larsen for some comments he made on the floor of the legislature almost four years ago during his first session.
I understand the point Senator Larsen was trying to make, and even agree with it. We can’t criminalize every bit of childhood adversity. It’s one thing to protect kids from actual harassment and violence, actual “abuse and neglect.” It’s quite another to shelter them from some of the cruel realities of the world we live in.
The push for anti-bullying legislation is simply going too far. Larsen’s wording, unfortunately, wasn’t good and Wolf is making the easy layup.
Will it work?
The question will be how much Wolf can actually put this ad in front of people. While North Dakota doesn’t really have any hot statewide races this year, there are eight hotly contested measures on the statewide ballot with committees in support or opposition buying up television time at record rates.
A marketing expert told me television rates are now more expensive than they were during the Senate slugfest between Rick Berg and Heidi Heitkamp when the state saw political advertising almost non-stop.
All that traffic may make it difficult for Wolf and Oban to get traction on the airwaves despite strong fundraising, relative to legislative races. Of course, in the internet age, that might not matter if Wolf and Oban can get their ads in front of a lot of people on the internet. The only problem with that strategy, though, is that the sort of people who follow the social media accounts of politicians tend to be political junkies who have, for the most part, probably already made up their minds about their votes.
Wolf, by the way, has been in the Legislature before. SAB readers might recognize her from that time in 2009 when she accused some tea party protesters of harassing her for daring to approach her outside of the state capitol.