Listeners to KYW Newsradio this week heard what seemed like a familiar voice stumping for Democrats in Delaware County: Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The advertisements, paid for by the GOP-aligned Committee for Delaware County’s Future, feature a skit with a Sanders impersonator that aims to paint County Council candidates in a negative light by associating them with the Vermont liberal.
In the clip, “Sanders” canvasses door-to-door to voice his opposition to Jim Raith, Mike Morgan, and Kelly Colvin, the three Republicans running for seats on the county’s ruling board.
He says their opponents — Monica Taylor, Elaine Schaeffer, and Christine Reuther — are his "kind of Democrats.”
“Soon the Democrats on County Council will implement the socialist policies I love: bloated government, safe injection sites, defunding the DA’s Office, you name it,” the impersonator continues while railing against the Republican candidates for refusing to raise taxes.
Tuesday’s race is a historic one for the county: With an unprecedented three vacancies on the council, it presents a very real chance that Delaware County could have its first-ever Democratic majority, after the party won two seats on the council in 2017.
The ad seems to underscore the tightness of the race in the historically red county ahead of Election Day.
The commercial, according to a media buyer who studied recent expenditures, is part of a $26,744 push by the Committee for Delaware County’s Future. That money, more than $17,000 of which was spent on KYW, paid for advertisements that started airing Wednesday and will run right up until Election Day.
Representatives for the Committee for Delaware County’s Future did not respond to a request for comment Friday.
Attack ads are common in local government races, but ones that feature nationally recognized figures (or appear to) are somewhat unusual — especially without any disclaimer that the voices heard are not the genuine article.
The clip is legal, however, as it contains the required notices before and after that it is a paid political advertisement, and identifies the committee responsible. There is no requirement from federal regulators that ads need to identify a voice as an impersonator.
A spokesperson for Sanders’ presidential confirmed Friday that it was not his voice in the ad.
Last week, headlines noted that liberal billionaire George Soros poured $100,000 into the race for district attorney, propping up Democratic challenger Jack Stollsteimer.
Earlier, mailers were sent out throughout Delaware County that combined the faces of the Democrats running for council with prominent liberals, including Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The mailer, paid for by a new super PAC known as Citizens Who Have Had Enough, said that while the faces might be different, "the radical extremist policies are the same.”