The Bay Area's liberal reputation is being used in the Central Valley to attack two Democratic candidates running in the mid-term elections. The TV political ads may be helping to mobilize Republicans, but they also might backfire. You won't see them in the Bay Area.
"Melissa Hurtado is nothing more than a San Francisco liberal," says a narrator in a political ad meant to discredit State Senate candidate Melissa Hurtado.
"We know Andrew Janz spends his time leading resistance protests in San Francisco," says a narrator in a TV ad attacking for the candidate running against incumbent Fresno area Congressman Devin Nunes.
San Jose State political science professor Dr. Melinda Jackson says the ads invoke the Bay Area's liberal reputation to appeal to the Republican base. However, the strategy may not ensure success.
"I think the ads have to do more than that because a lot is going to depend on turnout this year, and even in heavily Republican districts, you need the more moderate Republicans, you need the independents to turn out in order to win the race," said Dr. Jackson.
The intriguing thing about our region is that people don't necessarily live and vote in the same community where they spend their days working or going to school. They may have their feet in two communities, here in the Bay Area and in the Central Valley.
Destiny Ruiz is one of those people. She's from San Jose but moved to the Central Valley to find cheaper housing. The attack ads don't resonate with her.
"They're trying to appeal to their base, you know, especially people in the Central Valley, but people like me it's kind of biased 'cause I live there but I'm from here so it kind of puts me in the middle when it comes to perspectives," said Ruiz.
Dr. Jackson says research indicates negative ads may not work for the mid-term elections in two weeks. For candidates to win, turnout will be important.
"Enthusiasm tends to be a better predictor of people actually turning out to the polls, so when people feel happy and enthusiastic and really supportive of the candidate, that's actually more motivating than fear," said Prof. Jackson.
Dr. Jackson also points out that the photo of candidate Hurtado is flattering and might counter the ad's negative tone.