Dee from the Desk: Opening Pandora’s Box
The first attack ad of the campaign season has been released by the Fung for Governor Campaign.
The ad takes on Republican Ken Block for voting for President Obama twice in the past elections. It quotes Block saying he “bought what Barack Obama was selling.” The Fung Campaign has been very vocal about Block’s past support of Obama since Block entered the Republican Primary.
The Fung campaign released the video just days after Block condemned the president and the “Obamacare” program in a press release.
Block supporters are taking the ad as a sign that they have momentum and Fung is feeling threatened. Over the past weekend Block prevailed in a straw poll taken by the North Kingstown GOP at the Lincoln Day dinner and the campaign has been building on the momentum since then. The Fung campaign has question the integrity of the poll.
Prior to the blatant attack video, supporters of the campaigns have butted heads several times and supporters are getting pretty ugly on social media and on talk radio but this is the first direct attack of the campaign season.
Although the first, it is unlikely to be the last. Fung is unlikely to let Block’s past support of Obama go and the campaign will continue to take shots at the newly minted Republican for his past involvement in forming the Moderate Party. However, the Block campaign surely has a few tricks up its sleeves, such as past donations from Allan Fung to prominent Democrats, such as U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Now that the first attack ad has been released a whole new can of worms has been open. It will be interesting to see if the Block Campaign responds with their own ad or takes the high road. If Block is feeling comfortable with his position in the Republican Primary polls it is likely that he will just ignore the attack and continue with his campaign.
The ad does show at least a degree of frustration from the Fung Camp who are probably less than thrilled that Block has made inroads in Republican party when less than a year ago he was not a Republican.
Another interesting dynamic is whether this attack will influence the support of former gubernatorial candidate John Robitaille who has stated that the campaigns should keep it clean and focus on the issues. Robitaille is not a fan of going negative, however even he had to see that this primary was headed in that direction.
What will really be telling is the messaging that both campaign chose to use going forward and what messaging actually makes it to air closer to the primary.
Either way, Pandora’s Box is now open and there is no way to close it.
Dee DeQuattro is the assignment desk manager and digital news coordinator for ABC6. She studied politics and communications and holds a master’s degree from Providence College. Follow her on twitter @deedequattro and log on to ABC6 .com for her latest in depth coverage of politics and news.