The political traffic on Pennsylvania's airwaves has become more crowded, as state Treasurer Rob McCord Friday began airing his first two broadcast television ads of the Democratic race for governor, two months before the primary election.
The 60-second spots, running in rotation statewide, mix elements of McCord's biography – the son of a single mother who overcame a learning disability, went to Harvard, and became a successful venture capitalist – with policy attacks on Republican Gov. Corbett.
Rival campaigns estimated McCord's ad buy at $1.1 million for a week's worth of time. It means that if you watch television in any corner of the commonwealth, it would be hard to avoid seeing a McCord spot even if you were trying to do so.
"We didn't eat meat, you know, when I was age 4 to 10 – not for health reasons, but because we couldn't afford it," McCord says in one of the ads, called Freshman. His mother and father split up when he was four; McCord was raised by his mother, a Stanford Phd., in Lower Merion. (The ad does not mention the wealthy township.)
In the ad, McCord says that public education made him the success he became, and he touts his proposal for a 10 percent extraction tax on natural gas, earmarked to restore cuts in state education funding and expand preschool programs. Corbett has refused to impose a drilling tax at all, "a wholly owned subsidiary of that industry."
Both ads end with scenes of McCord, a venture capitalist before he was elected treasurer in 2008, in the kitchen with his wife and bi-racial sons, a slight echo of the blockbuster commercial for Bill de Blasio in the New York Mayor's race featuring his son, Dante, talking about the impact of the city's stop-and-frisk policy that many believe has targeted minority youth.
AKPD Message and Media, President Obama's media firm, created the ads for both de Blasio and McCord.
York businessman Tom Wolf, with $10 million of his own money in his campaign treasury, has owned the airwaves for weeks, pulling into a large lead. Former DEP secretary Katie McGinty has also advertised in TV markets outside of expensive Philadelphia, matching Wolf's traffic at times in smaller markets.
U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz of Montgomery County and former state auditor Jack Wagner of Pittsburgh have not yet advertised.