RSS

These unforced errors prove it's never too early to blow a Senate race

March 26, 2014, at 10:11 AM
 
Last year, Sen. McConnell showed his Louisville pride. This year, he revealed some Kentucky confusion.

Last year, Sen. McConnell showed his Louisville pride. This year, he revealed some Kentucky confusion. Photo: (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Despite numerous attempts to forecast elections months in advance, politics remains very unpredictable.

Just this week, we've seen three major gaffes by Senate candidates that could jeopardize their chances in November.

In New Hampshire, former Sen. Scott Brown (R) blew a chance to show why voters should trust him even though he just moved to their state from neighboring Massachusetts.

Said Brown: "Do I have the best credentials? Probably not. 'Cause, you know, whatever. But I have long and strong ties to this state."

In Iowa, Rep. Bruce Braley (D), who is running for Sen. Tom Harkin's (D-Iowa) seat, was secretly videotaped mocking Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in front of a group of trial lawyers, saying Harkin is "a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school."

In Kentucky, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) released an ad that mistakenly used footage of the Duke Blue Devils winning the NCAA basketball championship instead of his state's much-loved Kentucky Wildcats.

First Read points out that biggest problem for these candidates is that "each of these unforced errors reinforced a stereotype that the candidates are trying to avoid (and the opposition is trying to paint)."

"For Brown, the stereotype is that he's a bit lazy and undisciplined — and, of course, that he isn't a true Granite Stater. For Braley, the stereotype is that he's an elitist trial lawyer who doesn't understand Iowa's farming ways… And for McConnell, the stereotype is that he's gone Washington and is out of touch with Kentucky."

It's too early to predict how much damage these gaffes will cause Brown, Braley, and McConnell. But at the very least, they've given their opponents plenty of new material for campaign ads.

 

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Facebook

Twitter

RSS

Subscribe to the Week