Although he is only four months and a few weeks into his first term, Congressman Tom Perriello (D-VA5) is already being treated to television commercials promoting his re-election.
Two lobbying groups, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhrMA) and the Health Care Leadership Council, have paid for ads running in the Charlottesville market (and perhaps elsewhere within the 5th congressional district) aimed at highlighting Perriello's support for legislation that the groups are advocating and which benefits their corporate members.
The ads do not constitute "express advocacy" as defined by McCain-Feingold. That is, they do not expressly urge that viewers vote for one candidate or against another. But the ads do urge voters to telephone Congressman Perriello's Washington office and thank him for his votes. They are intended to make the freshman congressman look good to his constituents.
Could these TV commercials be the first campaign ads of the 2010 election cycle?
The voices that narrate the ads are juvenile -- one male, one female. The girl sounds like she's 8 or 10 years old, the boy sounds about 12. Laid over flattering photographs of Congressman Perriello, the narrators say he:
"voted to give health insurance to 200,000 Virginia children"The narration ends with this request:
"voted to extend health care coverage to Virginia workers hurt by the recession"
"protected our veterans by making sure their treatment for combat-related injuries was covered"
"call Congressman Perriello and thank him for standing up for better health care"It's hard to believe there are only 529 days between now and Election Day, 2010.
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