The Group Dynamic
The only thing more predictable than the campaign outcry over recent advocacy group ads targeting Democratic Rep. Paul Hodes and Republican Senate hopeful Bill Binnie is that these kinds of ads have once again shown up in our local electoral discourse like clockwork. As an aside, let me suggest to the Binnie campaign that it should take heart in the potential for the Cornerstone ad to actually make Bill Binnie sound more viable than Kelly Ayotte for a general election run, given my sense of where the median voter is ideologically in New Hampshire.
There is no denying that this style of independent advocacy ad quickly turns the campaign environment down and dirty, while the candidates try (often in vain) to avoid getting their shoes muddied. I’ve written previously about how changes in technology, campaign finance regulations, and the media culture have given rise to these ads, and about why I don’t think they are going away anytime soon. If it’s any consolation to those candidates who find themselves on the receiving end of these attacks, media coverage of the resultant controversy often generates an unparalleled opportunity for candidate visibility and mobilization of core (angered) supporters.

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