Florida’s 18th District went for Romney in 2012, and we knew it would be targeted as a district that could go Red in 2014. Congressman Patrick Murphy was also running against a candidate in his 70’s, so we needed to highlight Murphy’s youthful energy, as well as his reputation as an independent member who could make independent decisions.
We wanted this race to be defined by us, early on. We needed to set the tone — here is a congressman that is young, energetic, serious, principled, bold. Playing up his telegenic qualities, we filmed him jogging outdoors while he touted his independent nature. It was an immensely gratifying campaign, kicked off with this dynamic ad.
In 1 R+9 district we ran all positive ads, 13 of them, against a Republican candidate who spent $1 million. And we still won by 20 points. This ad got plenty of earned media as well, and really got people talking about Murphy’s independence. Daily Kos wrote: “FL-18: Patrick Murphy (D): Murphy used his massive fundraising edge to flood the airwaves with positive ads. The strategy more than worked: Murphy won 60-40 in a 52-48 Romney district. He has plenty of commercials to choose from, but this one is the most memorable.” The National Journal wrote, “Florida’s Patrick Murphy managed a rare 2014 feat—keeping a conservative district in Democratic hands.”