WASHINGTON – How many Democrats today would use their support for Obamacare as a key selling point in a statewide race?
Frank Pallone is.
The Shore-area Congressman running for Senate launched his first Web ad Thursday, and the spot highlights his role in helping pass the sweeping health care law that Republicans love to bash and many Democrats worry about.
In the video, in which Pallone tries to introduce himself to statewide voters who barely know him, he says the health care law will help keep costs down for seniors and help people with pre-existing coverage.
Interspersed with details of his liberal policy stands are notes from Pallone’s biography.
“I’m a typical Jersey story,” he says, later noting that his father was a cop.
The video also plays up his recent endorsement from the family of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who he is running to replace, and seems to take a couple subtle shots at the fame surrounding the race’s front-runner, Newark Mayor Cory Booker.
Lautenberg, Pallone says, “basically was a workhorse and he didn’t care about the spotlight … I feel the same way. We want to get things done and make a difference in people’s lives.”
The ad concludes by calling Pallone “the Democrat for Senate,” perhaps another dig at Booker, who has come under fire for being too close to Gov. Christie.
Pallone’s ad is his first of the campaign.
Meanwhile, fellow Congressman Rush Holt launched his third Web spot, this one taking aim at Wall Street and calling for a new tax on stock trades. He argues that most trades are “speculation” made by supercomputers – “helping Wall Street bankers get rich quick.”
“Every dollar the computers win, is a dollar you lose,” Holt says. He calls for a “speculation tax” on stocks bought and sold. “I say, let’s fight back.”
Maybe I'm single-minded, but there seems to again be an effort here for Holt to distinguish himself from Booker, who has also faced criticism from some liberals for his very public defense of Wall Street.
It makes sense – polls say Booker is the clear favorite, and everyone else is trying to set up contrasts.
But while Pallone and Holt are running ads online, Booker has put two spots on statewide TV, thanks in part to the $4.6 million fund-raising surge he announced this morning.
Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver is also running in the Democratic primary, though her campaign is only now getting rolling.
The Republican primary candidates are Steve Lonegan and Alieta Eck. Neither has launched an ad yet.
Lonegan has already been taking aim at Democrats. On Monday he ripped a plan from Booker to fight child poverty -- saying it would "destroy jobs" -- and Thursday he lashed out at Holt's proposal.
"It really demonstrates how out of touch with the private sector Democrats have become," Lonegan said. "People like Rush Holt want to choke any profit-making opportunity the private sector has."