Special to The Dallas Examiner
AUSTIN – Austin-based Turn Texas Blue PAC announced on Tuesday it had made a significant investment in radio, digital advertising and direct mail, impacting more than 20 counties in East and West Texas.
“We have targeted rural markets impacting counties where increased Democratic turnout in local, competitive races will make a difference not only locally, but all the way up the ticket,” said Steve Rivas, the PAC’s executive director.
The buys, while under $20,000, would constitute saturation levels of digital and radio advertising in some rural markets through Election Day.
“Folks will be hearing our ads in Andrews, Texas, and in Carthage Texas, and many smaller markets across the state,” he said.
Rivas noted the messaging strategy for the spots was designed to make rural voters think twice before voting for Republican candidates at the state and local level.
“Rural voters share different values than urban voters,” said Rivas, a longtime Austin political consultant.
He said the PAC contracted with Columbus, Texas based The Dawn Group to develop the PAC’s voter influencing strategy.
“We took a look at counties across rural Texas where there were Democrats on the ballot locally in competitive races. We have been able to target counties and with races where we can have a real impact, and counties that had a high number of likely persuadable voters to have an impact for the statewides,” said Vince Leibowitz, senior strategist with The Dawn Group who developed the strategy.
“Turn Texas Blue PAC took advantage of a unique opportunity to pose a values question to rural voters through a dramatic series of radio and digital ads. We are confident that we’ve developed a message to help rural voters understand Democrats are the best suited to lead in our state.
“A traditional Democratic message, it’s not,” said Leibowitz. “It is designed to help rural Texans understand Democrats aren’t the devil and share their values more than the state’s present Republican leadership. It helps them understand it is okay to vote Democratic, because the Republicans have simply betrayed rural Texas.”
Rivas said he believed the message would resonate with the PAC’s target audience.
“We know Texas cannot turn blue without the rural counties, and we intend to have a serious impact there,” Rivas said.
“Turning Texas blue means we have to have local, less-likely to vote voters out there thinking about whether or not they might be better off under Democratic leadership this time around – locally and statewide.”
The PAC didn’t reveal the full data on the buy, but confirmed it has made purchases in Andrews, Howard, Castro, Harrison, Nacogdoches, Angelina, Panola, and other counties, and that they expect to expand the buy significantly this week.
Among the counties the PAC is targeting is Howard County. Howard County is consistently among western Texas’ top performing Democratic counties, and Rivas said the PAC was committed to helping them turn their corner of West Texas blue based on their significant efforts over recent years.
In Harrison County, Rivas said the ads were designed to increase turnout for Audrey Spanko in Texas State Senate District 1. He said many of the other West Texas buys would help local candidates running for countywide and precinct-level office.
Turn Texas Blue is a State General-Purpose Committee – known as a GPAC. All expenditures were independent and not coordinated with other PACs or campaigns, according to Rivas.