With 50 days to go until the election, Democratic congressional candidate Joseph P. Kennedy ran his first television ad on Sunday, an extensive pitch to the middle class that is light on biography and heavy on economic proposals.
The ad, titled “Come Back Swinging,” is unusually long at more than a minute. It is airing in Boston and Providence cable markets. Massachusetts voters in southern towns such as Attleboro get programming from the Providence region.
Campaign spokeswoman Emily Browne described the purchase as “a substantial buy,” though she declined to say how often the ad would run or how much the campaign spent to get it on air.
“The purpose of this ad is to highlight Joe’s priorities,” she said, “and help show voters the clear choice they will face in November when it comes to the most important issues facing the 4th District, from putting people back to work to protecting seniors’ retirement security and getting our debt and deficit under control.”
Kennedy, 31, is seeking the seat held by U.S. Representative Barney Frank since 1981. He has never run for office before, but as a member of the nation’s most storied political family—he is the son of former Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II and the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy—he has far less need to introduce himself to the electorate than most first-time candidates would.
The ad makes no reference to his family legacy and includes only brief mentions of his personal experiences, such as his time in the Peace Corps and his career as a prosecutor.
Instead, the spot consists largely of a list of policy proposals, many of them Democratic stand-bys: “Focus on job creation. Invest in infrastructure and community colleges. Give small businesses access to the capital and tools they need to grow. Protect Social Security and Medicare. Don’t gut them.”
The ad also specifically lobbies for the Buffett rule “so that billionaires pay at least the same rate as most middle-class families.” The 2011 tax plan, proposed by President Barack Obama, would raise the minimum tax rate for people making more than a million dollars a year to 30 percent.
Kennedy’s new ad makes no mention of his Republican opponent, Sean Bielat, who has criticized him in the past as unwilling to answer tough questions or stake out specific policy goals.
Bielat said he was unimpressed by the ad.
“It’s typical talking points—nothing I wouldn’t have expected. It’s pretty fluffy,” he said in a phone interview. “It is long, but I think that’s an indication of the fact that they have a lot of money they’re going to throw at this race.”
The mention of the Buffett rule, he added, is “a gimmick. [The proposal] would actually do almost nothing. It’s not worth wasting that much of a 60-second ad on—not that I want to tell him how to spend his money.”
Bielat has yet to release his first major TV spot—“for strategic reasons,” he said, “and also partly because we’re still working out a few things.”