“This is Idaho,” proclaims Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo’s new political campaign commercial, touting his advocacy for balancing the federal budget and reining in the national debt.
The ad is running in the Spokane market as well as statewide in Idaho; Crapo, who is seeking a fourth six-year term in the Senate, is the first Idaho candidate this year to launch a statewide campaign commercial. He’s facing Democratic challenger Jerry Sturgill and Constitution Party candidate Ray Writz in November.
Jim Weatherby, professor emeritus at Boise State University and a longtime observer of Idaho politics, said the debt is “a good choice” for Crapo’s opening salvo in the campaign, “in that this issue just isn’t being discussed. And it helps to legitimize his claim that he’s leading this battle.”
The claims in the ad are largely accurate. “He’s been in the forefront – I don’t know whether he is leading the fight or not,” Weatherby said.
Todd Cranney, a senior adviser with Crapo’s campaign, noted that Crapo is a senior member of the Senate Budget and Finance committees, where he’s continued to push for spending cuts and tax reform.
Maya MacGuineas, head of the Campaign to Fix the Debt and president of the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said, “The work he’s put into tax reform is incredibly, incredibly impressive.” She added, “He’s an influential member.”
Weatherby said the ad is an appealing one. “He has credibility on this issue – he’s walked the walk, he’s done the heavy work of trying to come up with a balanced budget that cut spending and raised taxes, for which he’s been severely criticized, often by the right wing of his own party.”
The ad also strikes a folksy tone, showing a casually dressed Crapo in Idaho, differentiating him from the “Washington insiders” he decries. But Crapo has served in the Senate for the past 18 years, and served three terms in the U.S. House before that.
Weatherby noted that numerous groups and individuals who could be described as “Washington insiders” are among the many contributors to Crapo’s campaign; he’s raised millions for his re-election campaign, and had $5.1 million in cash on hand at the close of the last reporting period.
Still, Weatherby said, “It’s smart politics for a senator who’s been there that long to still try to run as an outsider.”
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