The AP’s Glen Johnson writes that
Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey is poised to begin airing television ads, launching a publicity campaign that will not end until the November general election and kicking off an expensive and potentially nasty phase of the 2006 gubernatorial campaign.
Perhaps the looming early declaration of a general election air-war may be surprising since the primary is still two months away, but the basic (though expensive) strategy is sound. Johnson continues:
The television blitz, meanwhile, will be so lengthy it will not only exhaust Healey’s $900,000 campaign kitty in short order, but begin drawing down the personal financial reserve that Healey and her husband established for the campaign when they sold an estimated $13 million worth of stock options last year.
The Healey aides expect it will also inspire her three Democratic rivals — Deval Patrick, Tom Reilly and Chris Gabrieli — as well as her independent challenger — convenience store magnate Christy Mihos — to reciprocate with their own ad campaigns.
The GOP wants the Dems to spend their campaign funds early, tearing each other apart and drowning each other out. Patrick and Reilly won’t be able to keep pace if this television arms race develops the way the Healey camp apparently wants it to play out since Patrick apparently hasn’t been willing to spend his own fortune and his war chest is minute compared to Healey’s, while Reilly only has his $4 million fund. Gabrieli and Mihos potentially could by tapping into their own wealth. The irony of this potential situation is that Healey would be more of a catalyst for record spending than Gabrieli, who was the original lightning rod.
This, of course, begs the question: What happens to the Democratic nominee if his campaign is broke on September 20th,is left bruised from a nasty ad brawl, and has nothing left to counter the Healey media juggernaut?
(And I haven’t even mentioned direct mail…)