Control of the Senate could come down to a handful of races including the one in Nevada, where Democrats are backing incumbent Senator Harry Reid through big ad buys on prominent newspaper sites. The Nevada Senate contest is one of the most closely-watched this election day, as Reid battles tea party Republican Sharron Angle in a neck-and-neck race.
Sharron Angle is "reckless," "radical," and "extreme," according to an eye-catching homepage takeover on LasVegasSun.com. The anti-Angle takeover ad is the principal online effort today from pro-Democrat group Patriot Majority PAC, according to the group's President Craig Varoga.
The ads link to ToughLuckNevada.com, which features an audio clip that the group claims shows Angle made backroom deals. "Sharron Angle says a lot of things about how she plans to help Nevada, but what she's really telling us is 'Tough Luck' because we'll be on our own if she's elected to the U.S. Senate," states the site.
In addition to the expandable billboard-style unit and a complementary display ad running on the homepage of the Sun site, all other pages on the site are wrapped with anti-Angle imagery and messaging.
"It's so dominating, there's no way that your eye isn't drawn to that message," said Varoga, who said D.C.-based consulting firm Mullen and Company crafted the campaign. The takeover ads launched about a week ago according to Varoga.
The Democratic National Committee's sprawling get-out-the-vote online ad campaign is also popping up in Nevada, on the Las Vegas Review-Journal site. That paper endorsed Angle, while the Sun endorsed Senator Reid. The expandable ads feature President Obama and declare, "Vote Today!" They link to a polling place locator.
The anti-Angle site takeover is "absolutely a significant part of what we've done in the last week and a half," in terms of money spent, said Varoga. He told ClickZ News the organization has spent "tens of thousands" on online ad buys totaling less than $100,000. He said the organization's efforts this election season have been "fully integrated," and also include TV, radio, direct mail, newspaper, and phone calls.
"We clearly support the reelection of Senator Reid, but the main focus in everything we've done online and elsewhere is to define the radical policies of Sharron Angle," said Varoga.
The Sun site ad buy is aimed at "reminding people of the urgency of voting in this election," Varoga continued, adding that the group aims to reach undecided voters and people already supporting Reid who may need a reminder to go out and vote.
The DNC launched a $2.5 million get-out-the-vote online ad campaign yesterday targeting young voters, African-Americans, and Latino voters. A variety of display and video ads all feature Obama and encourage people to find their nearby polling locations and vote "to help the President move our country forward."
The Nevada State Democratic Party is also running Google search ads targeting voters in the state that suggest Angle is "Just Too Extreme" and link to StopAngleNow.com. Meanwhile, the Angle campaign is running online ads driving election day voters to HarryReidAmnestyGame.com, which suggests that Reid supports amnesty for illegal immigrants.
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Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.
December 12, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT