Petro, Blackwell take slams at each other in nomination fight
COLUMBUS | A full-fledged war of TV attack ads broke out Friday between Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell and Attorney General Jim Petro as their campaign for the Republican nomination for governor grew nastier and more personal.The Petro ad features unflattering pictures of Blackwell, ominous music and captions that include "Ken Blackwell his false and vicious attacks," and "Shame on you Ken Blackwell ? shame on you."
The ad flashes quotes from Ohio newspapers and Ohio Republican Chairman Robert Bennett, officially neutral in the race, condemning the TV attack ad on Petro that Blackwell unveiled last month. Among other things, Blackwell's ad said Petro had ethics "worse" than Republican Gov. Bob Taft's.
Blackwell's new ad asks, "Why has Ken Blackwell taken the gloves off?" and answers with pictures of Petro and Taft together, citing positions the two have taken in opposition to Blackwell positions.
"So ? more of Taft with Jim Petro? Or change with Ken Blackwell governor!" the ad says.
Both ads are 30-seconds. The Petro ad begins today and the Blackwell ad is expected to air Sunday or Monday, their campaigns said. Neither campaign would say how much the ad buys were for or in what markets the ads would air.
The dueling ads come with nearly two months to go before the May 2 primary.
"This is pretty unusual to have this this early but I think it shows how competitive the race is," said political scientist John Green, director of the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron.
Negative ads can turn voters off, but they may help in a primary where candidates agree more than disagree on issues and are looking for ways to distinguish themselves from each other, Green said.
"Negative ads are a fact of life," he said.
The ads can be viewed on the candidates' Web sites: www.kenblackwell.com
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