As the South Carolina “Republican” gubernatorial primary hits its homestretch, a new Facebook group is taking aim at one of the top GOP candidates: Lowcountry labor attorney Catherine Templeton.
It’s called the South Carolina Industry Project, and believe it or not several of its low budget social media spots are hitting Templeton far more effectively (and efficiently) than more expensive ads run by her top rival for the GOP gubernatorial nomination – incumbent governor Henry McMaster.
Wait … isn’t it usually the incumbent getting hit with negative ads? Yes … but this race has been anything but normal.
Readers will recall McMaster and Templeton were the antagonists in the first significant advertising battle of the race – which we detailed in this post two weeks ago. In the opening paid media tit-for-tat, Templeton was the focus of a third party advertisement run by the American Future Fund – an establishment GOP group formed in 2007 by supporters of liberal “Republican” presidential aspirant Mitt Romney.
The group’s ad – which effusively praised Templeton and echoed her “conservative outsider message” – has been airing hot and heavy across the state over the last two weeks. The initial ad buy was estimated at a quarter of a million dollars, but we’re told the organization has since “re-upped.”
Almost immediately, the pro-Templeton advertisement drew a response from McMaster’s campaign – although the governor’s return volley (a five-figure digital media advertisement) was confusing and ineffective.
“(It’s) something the average voter would probably need to see several times before its message registers,” we noted at the time.
Apparently we were correct. Except forget about average voters, even insiders had a hard time following McMaster’s spot …
“I had to watch it four times to figure out what it was saying,” one political consultant who is unaffiliated with the 2018 race told us.
Basically, McMaster’s point was that the group supporting Templeton was one of the most prominent purveyors of #NeverTrump propaganda during the 2016 “First in the South” presidential primary election.
You know … before Trump sold out.
McMaster’s ads didn’t make this point very well, though …
Making it infinitely better? The low budget spots run by the South Carolina Industry Project Facebook group … which combined the #NeverTrump angle with Templeton’s 2010 vote for former Democratic gubernatorial nominee Vincent Sheheen.
Take a look at their spot …
Why is the leading "Never Trump" group spending so much money on ads promoting Catherine Templeton for Governor?Paid for by South Carolina Industry ProjectOf the American Industry Project 228 S Washington Street, Suite 115 | Alexandria, VA 22314
Posted by South Carolina Industry Project on Tuesday, March 27, 2018
(Via: South Carolina Industry Project)
Oh, and here’s the group’s second spot, which is devoted exclusively to Templeton’s vote for Sheheen (and is comprised almost exclusively of Templeton’s own words) …
If a person who claims to hold conservative Republican values doesn’t let those values affect how they make decisions about which candidates to support. Do they really hold those values?Paid for by South Carolina Industry ProjectOf the American Industry Project 228 S Washington Street, Suite 115 | Alexandria, VA 22314
Posted by South Carolina Industry Project on Friday, March 2, 2018
(Via: South Carolina Industry Project)
As you can see, the second spot has been viewed over 100,000 times on Facebook … not bad for a shoestring social media offering.
We were in the process of reaching out to Templeton’s campaign for a response to these social media missives when we noticed a fundraising email in our inbox from her campaign manager, R.J. May III.
The email message – which was intended to bring in some small dollar donations prior to the close of the current fundraising quarter – was timely for the purpose of this article, too. Specifically, it referenced remarks made by former S.C. governor Nikki Haley – who defeated Sheheen in 2010 – when she appointed Templeton to the first of two cabinet positions in her administration.
“She is a fighter,” Haley said of Templeton. “She is strong. She is a mother. She is a wife. She’s a great professional who hasn’t just been good at anything, she’s been great at everything.”
“Catherine was one of the first people Governor Nikki Haley asked to help her make it ‘A Great Day in South Carolina,'” May wrote in the fundraising pitch. “We want to bring Catherine’s ‘great at everything’ work ethic to the governor’s office. You deserve someone who is going to buzzsaw their way through red tape, regulations, and corruption, to make South Carolina the best place to live.”
Not a bad rebuttal … even if it wasn’t intended as such.
Obviously Haley didn’t care about Templeton’s vote for Sheheen … should SCGOP primary voters?
Probably not … but then again the real question isn’t “should” they care, it’s “will” they care?
We’ll find out the answer to that question soon enough …
WANNA SOUND OFF?
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