By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor
Tom Smith, the businessman and coal industry veteran from Armstrong County, will launch the first television ads of the first Republican primary for U.S. Senate, PoliticsPA has learned. According to multiple GOP media consultants, the buy will total about $160,000 and comprise both broadcast and cable.
The ads are scheduled to begin tomorrow and run through December 12th. His ads likely won’t appear on expensive Philadelphia broadcast market, but $7,500 of the total buy will air on cable on Fox News in the region.
Update: Tom Fitzgerald of the Philadelphia Inquirer confirmed the buy with the Smith campaign. You can view the video below.
John Brabender is one of the Republican media consultants who confirmed the details of the Smith ad buy. He is a general consultant for another candidate in the race, Chester County entrepreneur Steve Welch.
“I don’t think they’re doing the Philadelphia media market at all, which is about 42 percent of the state,” he said. “Let’s put it this way: it’s going to reach a lot of non-Republican voters.”
About 28 percent of Pa.’s GOP primary voters reside within the Philly market, according to two media consultants.
Smith has repeatedly said that he was willing to invest his personal wealth in the race – and demonstrated as such with a$750,000 loan to his campaign reported at the close of the third quarter. An early TV buy is a way for the campaign to flex its financial muscle as well as put Smith on the map.
The primary field to take on freshman Senator Bob Casey is crowded, but aside from former State Rep. Sam Rohrer most of the candidates have relatively low name ID. According to a survey by Public Policy Polling, only 13 percent of Republican primary voters know enough about Smith to form an opinion.
As a first time candidate, Smith is likely to run a 30 second version of this basic, get-to-know-you video his campaign posted on the web earlier this week. It’s also a possibility, given the slightly unusual start date of the ad’s flight, that he will be more aggressive – perhaps responding to the AFL-CIO’s recent $170,000 pro-Casey ad flight. His campaign had already criticized Casey over the ads.
PoliticsPA will update this story when further details of the ad become available.
In addition to founding a coal company, Smith was also the leader of the Indiana-Armstrong Patriots tea party organization.
More details on the ad from Fitzgerald’s story:
“The effort to retire Bob Casey and Barack Obama begins today – and Tom Smith is leading that charge,” said Smith campaign manager Jim Conroy in a statement. “As a businessmen, job creator and lifelong conservative Tom Smith is the best qualified to hold Senator Casey accountable for his record of…voting for the President’s failed agenda more than 98% of the time.”
According to the campaign, the ad is running statewide on broadcast and cable stations in the Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Altoona TV markets, and only on cable outlets in the Philadelphia, Scranton-Wilkes Barre and Erie markets.
Here is the ad: