It had been hoped that the 2006-midterm elections in America would not degenerate into elections as to who has raised the most amount of money or that negative campaigning would dominate the issue. With regards to the 2006 midterms in America, neither seems to have worked.
The 2006 midterm elections have already been dubbed “the most expensive US Congressional election” in history” - ‘The Times’ – October 27th 2006. The ‘Times’ correspondent wrote the following with regards to the midterms:
“The most expensive US congressional election in history has almost certainly become the nastiest as a dark tide of attack advertisements sweeps across American TV screens. With control of the House of Representatives and the Senate hanging in the balance, rival candidates are plumbing new depths of taste and duplicity in their desperate quest for votes.” (Tom Baldwin)
Various advertisements that have caused offence include:
|A Republican broadcast against Harold Ford Jr, who is attempting to become the South’s first black Senator, which shows a white blonde female claiming that she met Ford at a Playboy party. The ad ends with her saying “Harold, call me.” Ford was among 3000 people who attended a Playboy party at the Super Bowl. The ad has since been withdrawn after complaints.|
|In Pennsylvania, the Democrats ran an ad that had mock-up newspaper headlines about an affair by Don Sherwood, a Republican House member that claimed he repeatedly attempted to strangle his mistress. Sherwood was forced to run an advert that admitted his affair but denied any attempt to kill his mistress.|
|Actor Michael J Fox was embroiled in controversy when it was claimed an ad he fronted for the Democrats showed him exaggerating his muscular problems caused by Parkinson’s Disease. Fox was campaigning on behalf of Claire McCaskill, the Democrat challenger. Fox claimed that the Republican incumbent, Jim Talent, would support the crimilisation of stem cell research. Rush Limbaugh, a right-wing radio presenter, claimed that Fox had either failed to take his medication or was exaggerating his symptoms. He later apologised for his comments. The Republicans were forced into releasing an ad that claimed the Democrats were raising false hopes amongst Parkinson sufferers.|
“I think that 2006 will prove to be the most negative campaign in memory.” John Greer, Vanderbilt University.
The midterms have cost an estimated $2.6 billion by the end of October. This is an 18% increase from 2002. The total spending in the 2005 British election was £50 million.