Our Political Ad Watch club takes a look at legislative candidate Halsey Beshear’s new ad

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Halsey Beshears is one of four  Republicans seeking the House District 7 seat, facing former Rep. Jamey Westbrook, Mike Williams and Don Curtis in the Republican primary. The winner of that primary will take on the winner of a three-way Democratic primary between Thomas Dickens, Robert Hill and A.J. Smith.

Beshears – or actually his daughters – are up with a folksy intro ad  letting you know he wants to take “north Florida values” to Tallahassee (which may be geographically in north Florida, but by implication here needs an injection of the area’s true values.)

Our Political Ad Watch club reviews…

Right off the bat, Kevin Cate says the ad looks similar to a 2006 spot produced for the Gus Bilirakis congressional campaign.

Regardless, Abel Harding is impressed:

I’m always partial to political ads that feature a genuine Florida drawl and Halsey Beshears’ ad has that and more. While the viewer may be confused as to what family business Beshear is involved in (Is it a nursery? Fishing? Farming? …all three were featured with no clear favorite), there’s no question the girls steal the show.

But come on, Daddy’s never let you down? He never once said no to that Disney trip request, dozed off during that dance recital or said you’d had enough ice cream for one day?
Ah, who am I kidding. It’s charming as hell and every grandma in the 7th District will probably be walking doors for “All-ze” this weekend.
The newest edition to the Political Ad Watch, Ben Kirby, offers a full analysis:
Someone once said don’t use your kids in a political ad.  I want to say it was James Carville, but that may not be right.  Anyway, I suspect the days of having your children be off-limits in politics are long over, ending around the time of John McCain’s truly horrible joke about Chelsea Clinton.  [ASIDE: To be fair, Democrats were pretty awful to the Bush daughters.  To be more fair, I would say the Obama’s have done a great job of keeping the lives of Sasha and Malia private.]
Three things on Halsey’s ad, and we’ll save talk on the kids for last.
First of all, what is a political ad?  It is a communications vehicle to deliver a message about you, the politician.  What kind of politician are you?  What policies do you support — what things to younot support?  And how are you different from your opponent(s)?  In an ideal world this would satisfy voters.  Where does a guy like Halsey Beshears stand on education?  Health care?  Taxes, the state budget, the environment, voting rights?  And how does he differ from his opponents on those issues?
None of those questions are answered in Halsey’s ad.  In fact, all we really learn about Halsey is that he’s from north Florida, he’s got three cute daughters, and he started his own business, probably in the agricultural area, given they use a shot of him in a grove of some sort.  I’m not saying that’s not enough — maybe it is.  Maybe for the Republican voters of HD 7 who have that four-way primary to look forward to, that’s enough.  I don’t know, I’m not a Republican.
What I do know is that running for State House, resources are often limited.  You really want to cut an ad that basically says what you can say on a website?  “I’m a business guy with an attractive family.”  Take a picture.
Second, I think it’s funny one of the comments on the YouTube page actually notices the geographic glitch.  Unless I’m reading it wrong, the Florida HD 7 virtually surrounds Tallahassee.  I have to say, I genuinely don’t understand the “taking north Florida values to Tallahassee” line.  He practically lives in Tallahassee.  Wouldn’t the people of HD 7 see this as a blatant pander?  What I really don’t understand is the need to veil where you’re from with lines like that.  If you want to say you’ll taking farming values to Tallahassee, say it.  If you want to say you’ll take rural values to Tallahassee, say that.
Third, the kids.  Normally I’d say Halsey blew it with the kids, but you have to admit: those are some cute kids.  It would be easy for me to say I would never use my own kids in a political ad if I were running for office (I am not).  But my kids are cute, too.  Grace, Suzanne and Turner do a fine job for their daddy, and he should be proud.  Now if he can just get them to explain where he stands on health care.
I tend to agree with Kirby’s conclusion:
In sum, I think Halsey kind of gets away with it.  I don’t know the voters of north Florida very well, but I suspect they’ll think the kids are real cute, and they’ll like that he’s a businessman from the area.
Material from the News Service of Florida was used in this report.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.