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CAMPAIGN '88 : Simon, Dukakis Begin TV Ads for Iowa Race

December 03, 1987|James Risen

With just two months left before the Iowa caucuses, the leading Democratic presidential candidates have switched their operations into high gear in Iowa.

The candidates running first and second in Iowa, Illinois Sen. Paul Simon and Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis, have started to run television commercials there for the first time.

Except for a very early, and many believe poorly timed, media blitz by former Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbitt last spring, the Simon and Dukakis commercials, which began running in November, are the first Democratic campaign ads to air in Iowa.

Dukakis has spent $75,000 on air time for his ads, which emphasize his role in turning around the Massachusetts economy. The Simon campaign, meanwhile, spent $100,000 to air a mini-profile of their man.

Artificial Boost Asserted

Steve Murphy, Iowa campaign manager for Missouri Rep. Richard A. Gephardt, who has not yet run any Iowa television spots, asserts that the Dukakis and Simon commercials have artificially boosted both candidates in the latest opinion polls. However, Pat Mitchell, Iowa campaign manager for Simon, noted that the most recent polls were conducted before many Simon television spots had aired.

Published polls in Iowa now show Simon in first place, slightly ahead of Dukakis, with Gephardt in third, just ahead of the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Still, Murphy believes that Simon and Dukakis have made a mistake in spending so much on television so early in the campaign. He said ad rates in Iowa will be cut in half after the Christmas season, when his campaign will be able to get more air time for the same amount of money.

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