You must remember the Turn Right USA ad against Democrat Janice Hahn in California – you know, the one that offended everybody. It even offended Craig Huey, the Republican running against Hahn, who called the ad “racist, sexist, bigoted.”
But had the ad never run, is it likely that Fox11 would have revisited its 2008 report on Hahn’s gang rehabilitation program? A report that ends with the anchor telling voters that she dodged their questions and sent them a cease and desist letter?
This is actually how “offensive” ads often work; it’s how the “Willie Horton” ad worked. The campaign distances itself from the imagery (and Huey really had nothing to do with Ladd Ehlinger, Jr’s latest opus) but the question is begged.
The Cook Political Report still rates the race as a likely win for Hahn, but recall that she won the first round of voting over Secretary of State Debra Bowen and progressive activist Marcy Winograd, who effectively split the left. This redrawn seat would be easy for Democrats to win back in 2012 if they lost it temporarily over this issue that they never even thought about.