Joe Morelle knows something you don’t.
At least he’s afraid of losing.
And he should be. He has been out-campaigned this summer by La’Ron Singletary in a stunning fashion. Sure, Joe Morelle has incumbency and a dominating political machine, and more PAC and corporate money than you can shake a stick at.
But he also has one other thing: Polling results.
And that’s why he’s running scared.
In the spring, Joe Morelle spent almost $40,000 on public-opinion polling. He had to spend big money to get an out-of-towner to ask his constituents what they were thinking. That’s how the fat cats stay in touch.
And this one learned he’s in trouble.
You can see that in his ads. On TV, in social media, anywhere he can get people to look. Joe Morelle is running focused attack ads on La’Ron Singletary that tell us more about Morelle than they do about Singletary.
Maybe you’ve seen them.
There’s a manipulated picture of Singletary, then a series of similarly manipulated pictures of Republican leaders, like Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell, and the claim that La’Ron Singletary will vote for a national ban on abortion. The ad hits hard on abortion, defining Singletary as a threat to freedom of choice and declaring him “TOO EXTREME FOR OUR COMMUNITY.”
Stop and think about that.
It’s the middle of August, the incumbent’s lone ad is a deceptive attack, and its appeal is to abortion supporters.
Let’s take that apart.
First, campaigns don’t truly begin until after Labor Day. But Joe Morelle is advertising hard now. Why? Because he has to. Because his polling showed that he’s behind the eight ball and he’s got to fight now to catch up.
Second, it’s an attack ad. Attack ads are for when you have to destroy your opponent, and you only have to destroy your opponent when he’s beating you. Campaign ads are always about whoever’s leading, and when your ads feature the other guy, in an attack, it’s because he’s ahead of you.
Third, you target your ads at voters you’re not doing well with. And this is an ad targeted at voters for whom abortion is a priority issue. That’s about 11% of the electorate, a segment which Joe Morelle – as the Democrat candidate – should have locked up. He’s not advertising to get crossover Republicans, he’s not advertising to get independents, he’s not advertising to get moderate Democrats – he’s advertising to get those pure Democrats who should be his bread and butter.
Let’s recap. Joe Morelle is advertising early, he’s attacking, and he’s trying to shore up support among voters who should be his core constituency.
That means La’Ron Singletary is threatening him across party lines. That means the 2-to-1 Democrat enrollment advantage isn’t – in the polling – paying off for Joe Morelle.
He’s running attack ads like a desperate politician because he is a desperate politician. His years of being Rochester’s political Goliath have come up against a David, and he knows it.
While, for his part, La’Ron Singletary is talking to people, not pollsters. And he’s talking about inflation and crime, the burden on our family budgets and the carnage on our city streets. Joe Morelle is worried about his career; La’Ron Singletary is fighting for his neighbors. One candidate is confident, and the other is frightened.
Remember that every time his ads pop up.
Joe Morelle is running scared. He can’t match La’Ron Singletary’s character or talents, so he’s got to destroy his reputation, tear down the name his parents gave him and stain the reputation he’s built over a lifetime. La’Ron speaks for people who want a place at the table, and Morelle is doing everything he can to make sure they don’t get it.
That’s what those ads mean.
Because Joe Morelle knows something you don’t.
His campaign, his career and his stranglehold on power are falling apart.