You’ve seen the “Government Run Healthcare” ad. But what about McCaskill’s defense? Until recently, she hasn’t been spending any of her money on advertising. She’s the incumbent – granted, in a state that Obama lost by a narrow margin (fewer than 4,000 votes) – which gives her an enormous advantage in terms of name recognition, media coverage and resources.
But there’s no doubt she’s vulnerable. Polls have her neck-and-neck with the leading Republican candidate, Sarah Steelman. Steelman, the former treasurer of the state of Missouri, has been unable to get her fundraising efforts rolling. It’s the classic Catch-22 of campaign finance. People don’t want to donate unless they think the candidate is likely to win – but candidates often can’t get their name out there through advertising unless they have money. So far, Steelman’s biggest campaign contributor has been herself – she gave $770,000 to her campaign.
So far, all the advertising in the race for the Missouri Senate seat has been done by outside groups – a fact McCaskill capitalized on in her first ad.