Political Eye: Romney campaign launches Nevada TV ad blitz

Nevada TV watchers, meet Mitt Romney, the GOP presidential nominee.

You already know President Barack Obama pretty well.

The Romney campaign launched its first general election ad in the Silver State last Friday, a positive spot promoting his job creation record as governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007. It noted that under his watch the state's unemployment rate fell from 5.6 percent to 4.7 percent.

"Mitt Romney had the best jobs record in a decade," the ad proclaims.

The commercial aired four days after the Obama campaign went up in Nevada with a negative ad, tearing down Romney's record. It noted Massachusetts was 47th in job creation when he was governor and the state lost 40,000 manufacturing jobs during his tenure.

"Romney economics. It didn't work then. It won't work now," the ad says.

Get used to seeing such tit-for-tat from the two candidates - and from outside groups aligned with the Republican and Democratic parties - in a TV advertising blitz that won't likely let up much until the Nov. 6 general election in this battleground state.

That's because Nevada and its precious six Electoral College votes are a hot commodity and could make the difference as the White House winner seeks 270 votes to secure victory. Nevada is one of seven to nine states that political analysts see as key to occupying the Oval Office.

A look at the recent slew of campaign ad spending tells the tale.

During a seven week period - April 10 through May 29 - more money was spent on ads in Nevada per Electoral College vote than in any other state, according to Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group.

Nearly $4.1 million was spent on ads, or $677,332 per Electoral College vote in Nevada.

Iowa came in second at $496,088 per each of its six Electoral College votes.

The rest of the list included the nation's other top battleground states, in descending order of spending: Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Florida.

If Romney truly plans to compete in Pennsylvania, ad traffic will pick up.

By the same token, if Obama goes after Florida, the commercials will begin to pour in.

The greatest general election ad spending so far has been in Ohio at $8.4 million. The state has 18 Electoral College votes, so the per vote tally was $467,068.

Here's another eye-popping statistic: Ads about Obama or Romney ran nearly 6,000 times in and around Las Vegas during that seven-week period, more than in any other media market.

Across the country, 63,793 campaign ads ran in 57 of the nation's 210 media markets.

Until Election Day, there's only one way to make it stop: Turn off the TV.


Sarah Palin is the big draw at this weekend's fifth annual RightOnline Conference, which is meeting Friday and Saturday at The Venetian on the Strip.

The 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee and former Alaska governor will headline a Friday reception at 7 p.m. Tickets are being sold for $49 each for the reception on the conference website - http://rightonline.com/beta - but organizers plan to cap the event at about 700 people.

Palin's no stranger to Nevada.

She campaigned here in 2008 when she was the running mate of the GOP presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain. She created excitement among conservatives but ultimately didn't help the GOP ticket and had a contentious relationship with what she called the "lamestream media."

Palin also campaigned here in 2010 against U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., who won re-election. She was the headline speaker at a gathering of up to 10,000 people in Searchlight, his hometown.

A popular figure among conservatives, Palin is seen as a leader in using social media to directly deliver endorsements, comments and other messages to her followers. She has more than 760,0000 Twitter followers at last count, and often uses Facebook to interact with her fans.

"Sarah Palin is one of the most successful public figures to harness new media," said Levi Russell, a spokesman for the conference. "She does not rely on the mainstream media to get her views out."

Americans for Prosperity is organizing the conference, billed as the premier event for conservative bloggers and activists to learn "tactics and strategies for effective advocacy online."

In past years, the RightOnline conference was held in the same city and at the same time as Netroots Nation, the progressive conference that met this past weekend in Rhode Island.

Russell said the conservatives decided they could now hold their own.

"First of all, nobody wanted to go to Rhode Island," Russell said. "And the strength of the conservative online community has reached a level where we can stand on our own and we don't really need to be there as a counterweight" to Netroots Nation.

The RightOnline conference is capped at 500 participants and will include strategy sessions "truly tailored to activists" who will act as an online army in a key election year, Russell said.

Besides Palin, other speakers include pollster Scott Rasmussen, author Jonah Goldberg and Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin, Dana Loesch, Guy Benson, Hugh Hewitt, Ann McElhinney, Lars Larson, Roger Hedgecock, S.E. Cupp and Rusty Humphries.

U.S. Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., is the only politician scheduled to speak at the event.

Contact Laura Myers at lmyers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2919. Follow @lmyerslvrj on Twitter.