New 10th District ads have very different messages

Updated 10/22/2010 9:49 PM
  • Robert Dold

    Robert Dold

  • Dan Seals

    Dan Seals

A pair of new commercials about the candidates running for the 10th Congressional District seat have hit TV stations in recent days.

Although they both ostensibly support the same candidate, they have very different messages.

One is a positive, promotional spot for Republican hopeful Robert Dold. The commercial, produced by Dold's campaign, doesn't even mention Democratic rival Dan Seals.

The other ad explicitly attacks Seals and tries to link the Democrat to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a regular target of GOP leaders, candidates and acolytes. It was produced by the American Action Network, a pro-Republican group that includes former U.S. senators Norm Coleman of Minnesota, Mel Martinez of Florida and George Allen of Virginia among its leaders.

The commercial doesn't mention Dold once.

Seals, of Wilmette, and Dold, of Kenilworth, are seeking to replace Highland Park Republican Mark Kirk as the congressman for the 10th District, which includes parts of Cook and Lake counties. Kirk is leaving the House to run for U.S. Senate.

The American Action Network piece began airing last week and has been promoted online by the organization.

The organization also has produced advertisements about candidates running for Congress in New Hampshire, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Arkansas and Massachusetts.

Several of those ads including the one about Seals feature the faces of Pelosi and the local Democratic candidate wobbling atop crudely drawn bodies.

The ad about Seals describes the candidate as a "star pupil of Pelosi and goes on to criticize the Democrats' stances on health care, taxes and other issues.

In a news release, the Seals campaign blasted the ad, calling it false. The release also called on Dold to demand the group pull the commercial, which it has not.

Dold campaign spokesman John McGovern said his team has no control over outside groups. Seals and Democratic Party organizations have run negative TV ads, too, he said.

The commercial produced by the Dold campaign is much tamer. It features men and women of different ages and ethnic backgrounds talking about why they like Dold.

Midway through the spot, an older man says, "If I lived in Chicago, I'd vote for him twice.

The people featured are not actors and their remarks were not scripted, McGovern said.