Just one week ago, former U.S. Rep. Chris Shays, wasn’t sure he’d have enough money to run a television commercial. With $327,000 in cash on hand at the end of the last reporting period, it looked like a safe prediction, but a campaign spokeswoman said their 30-second spot will start airing Thursday.
Amanda Bergen, a spokeswoman for Shays, said Wednesday that the campaign “is buying every available slot until Aug. 14” on Fox News.
“That’s where Republican primary voters are,“ Bergen said of the decision to purchase time on the popular cable news program.
Shays, a Congressman for 21 years, is running against former wrestling executive Linda McMahon in the Aug. 14 Republican primary. McMahon won the party’s endorsement back in May and already has about five ads in rotation on both broadcast and cable programs, in addition to other mediums such as Internet television and radio sites like Hulu and Pandora.
Shays’ first television commercial touts his three decades in Congress and ends with an endorsement from his wife Betsi.
“He is smart, he knows what he is doing, he’s got enormous energy. He loves the work. He loves the people he serves and he’s really good at getting things done,” Mrs. Shays says in a soft-spoken voice.
Tim Murtaugh, McMahon’s spokesman, said he can’t believe Shays thinks “it’s a good idea to brag about being a career politician.”
“This is 2012 people are sick of career politicians,” Murtaugh said. “He helped create these problems, and now he wants to go back?”
Even though Shays raised $530,811 during the last fundraising quarter—his best to date—his campaign reported having about $327,000 in cash on hand, which wouldn’t be enough to do a substantial media buy during the time slots with the most viewers. Shays could continue to fundraise, but it won’t have to be reported until after the primary. Through the end of June, Shays reported raising $1.5 million.
McMahon, who has loaned her campaign about $8 million, also started airing a new commercial Wednesday. In the commercial she talks about her bankruptcy and how difficult it was for her and her husband, Vince, as they were building their multi-million dollar business.
The hardscrabble beginnings McMahon describes in the ad are a far cry from where she is financially these days.
The campaign said the ad shows how far she’s come and how successful she’s been.
“Linda’s success in business since those difficult times proves she can create jobs,“ Corry Bliss, McMahon’s campaign manager wrote in an email to supporters. “Since the early days when she and Vince shared a desk, they have grown the company to employ more than 600 people in Connecticut.“
It comes just days after she released her 2010 tax returns, which showed her and Vince made about $30.6 million. Most of the income, aside from the $827,500 salary Vince takes from his role as president and CEO of the WWE, comes almost entirely from stock dividends, which are taxed at a rate of 15 percent. The couple earned $29.6 million from stock dividends.