Kratovil hits airwaves in re-election run
Rep. Frank Kratovil of Maryland is launching the first TV ad of his re-election campaign Tuesday. If the initial spot is any indication, the freshman Democrat will try to do whatever it takes to put distance himself between himself and the toxic political scene in Washington.
The spot portrays Kratovil as an independent operator and promotes his centrist voting record during his first term. In the ad, Kratovil says he's tried to make decisions based "on facts, not politics."
Looking into the camera, the congressman highlights his vote against President Barack Obama's health care legislation and against the "big bank bailout."
That last claim is something of a stretch, since the unpopular bank bailout legislation--creating the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP)--was approved during the Bush administration, before Kratovil got to Congress.
He did cast a vote in early 2009 to withhold the final $350 billion in TARP money--but that vote was largely symbolic, since the Senate had already acted to guarantee release of the bailout money.
"You see, for me, it's not about Democrats or Republicans. It's about common sense, and doing what's best for our families," says Kratovil, as he strolls a small-town street in a blue knit shirt.
Click here to view the spot.
There's no mention of his party affiliation, but that's hardly a surprise. When was the last time you saw a candidate of any party do that?
In Kratovil's case, the "D" next to his name may well be his biggest liability. Maryland's First District, which takes in the entire Eastern Shore and largely Republican portions of Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Harford counties, went for Republican John McCain by a landslide in 2008.
Kratovil, a former prosecutor who lives in Stevensville, not far from the eastern end of the Bay Bridge, is the first Democrat in nearly two decades to represent the district. He is also rated as one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the country this fall, largely because he holds an historically Republican seat in an election expected to favor Republican candidates.
Andy Harris of Baltimore County, a veteran state lawmaker who narrowly lost to Kratovil last time, is likely to defeat newcomer Rob Fisher in the Republican primary. Kratovil is unopposed in the Democratic primary. Early voting in both primaries begins Friday.
Fisher, a businessman with roots on the Eastern Shore, has invested in TV ads to introduce himself to Republican voters, while Harris is conserving his ad money for the general election contest.
Also on the air in the district is an anti-Kratovil ad sponsored by an offshoot of the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington. The radio commercial, part of a national campaign, attacks Kratovil for, in effect, siding with Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi by failing to support a parliamentary maneuver that would force a symbolic House vote on repeal of the Obama health care plan that Kratovil already voted against.