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Eye On Boise

AdWatch: RGA again goes after Idaho guv hopeful Balukoff

The Republican Governors Association launched a new anti-A.J. Balukoff TV ad in Idaho today, this one using a video clip from the governors’ debate in Coeur d'Alene debate where Balukoff momentarily lost his place in his opening remarks. The ad suggests Balukoff “needs a script,” and repeats several claims from an earlier RGA ad attempting to tie Balukoff, a Democrat, to President Barack Obama, while adding several new ones as well. Balukoff actually voted for Mitt Romney in the last presidential election.

“Tying Balukoff again to Obama and to gun control could be hurtful,” said Jim Weatherby, emeritus professor at Boise State University and a longtime observer of Idaho politics. “Those are two hot-button issues. But as to losing his place in his presentation, that’s pretty shallow stuff.”

The video clip is from Balukoff’s two-minute opening remarks at the Coeur Group’s Oct. 3 debate at the Coeur d’Alene Library. Otter visibly read from prepared remarks during his opening comments, while Balukoff largely spoke without looking at his text – except when he lost his place.

“It’s a rather cheap shot,” said Mike Lanza, spokesman for Balukoff’s campaign. He called the commercial “just a rehash of the same distortions and misrepresentations of A.J.’s positions that we’ve … seen from supporters of Gov. Otter.”

Weatherby said, “In comparative ads, or attack ads, you’re less concerned about what is completely true, and more concerned about what works. And negative ads, people hate, but often are influenced by.” He added, “The difference between the Otter and the Balukoff campaigns is the Otter campaign either has or is benefiting from attack ads, and Balukoff is not using them.”  You can read my full AdWatch story here at

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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