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Candidates begin broadcasting campaign ads

By Richard Piatt | Posted - Jun. 3, 2010 at 5:54 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- As the June 22 primary approaches, political candidates are facing the challenge of getting their names out in the public.

The effort is crucial to getting people interested in the races as well -- the primary is a crucial landmark in the campaign season.

And candidates are fighting a warm-weather reality right now: Interest in politics is low.

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Mike Lee is "fighting to save our country," according to his new primary-season television ad. In the meantime, opponent Tim Bridgewater is asking to "stop the insanity" on radio ads. He says video will come later. In the hotly-contested U.S. Senate race, Lee and Bridgewater are investing big in ads in the face of a huge challenge: getting voters to recognize who they are.

"Name ID is everything," said political pollster Dan Jones, who is about to research name identification for KSL and the Deseret News.

But since turnout is traditionally low in the June primary, the candidates will be spending time trying to generate interest.

Jones says on top of paid ads, everything is crucial: websites, billboards, yard signs, banners.

Even Democrat Sam Granato, who has the luxury of focusing on the November election, has a lot of work to do, according to Jones. The reason: Not a lot of people know who he is.

Lee's ad on TV and Bridgewater's on radio both talk about having positive campaign ads. But there's still a possibility the ads could quickly turn negative, depending on how the campaign unfolds.

"If their name ID is not moving as well as they'd like to, many times they'll go negative against their opponents, unfortunately," Jones said.

The campaign has already taken an interesting twist: Late Thursday, KSL was told there was a complaint against Mike Lee for not registering as a lobbyist at the Legislature. His campaign admits he did work with 1-800-Contacts.

According to the lieutenant governor's website, Lee is not registered as a lobbyist. The lieutenant governor's office is withholding information about such a complaint. KSL is looking into whether that is proper.

E-mail: rpiatt@ksl.com

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Richard Piatt

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