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ELECTIONS : Harman to End Campaign With a TV Ad Blitz : The commercials, costing $220,000, will air on major stations throughout the L.A. basin. She had used the expensive technique in her 1992 victory.

October 20, 1994|TED JOHNSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Rep. Jane Harman (D-Rolling Hills) plans to spend more than $220,000 on an advertising ad blitz on almost all of Los Angeles' major television stations in the last week of her reelection campaign against Rancho Palos Verdes Councilwoman Susan Brooks.

The ads, scheduled to begin on Halloween and be seen throughout the Los Angeles basin, will allow Harman to reach the broadest possible TV audience in her South Bay district. She is spending almost half the cash she had on hand Sept. 30 on the commercials, which will air primarily during local newscasts.

"Just stay tuned" is all she will say about the advertisements. Her campaign also plans to send out mailers, but will not distribute lawn signs.

Harman is one of the few congressional candidates to take to the airwaves in recent years, given the high cost of advertising in such a large market. She advertised on TV in 1992, when she scored a surprise victory over then-Los Angeles City Councilwoman Joan Milke Flores.

"She looked pretty good on the tube, talking straight to the camera," said political analyst Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, senior associate at the Center for Politics and Economics at Claremont Graduate School. "It was sort of an outsider theme. It was the right approach."

Brooks' campaign is trying to raise enough money to advertise as well. Its ads will more likely air on local cable franchises, which do not reach as broad an audience. They are also considering radio ads. Former Housing Secretary Jack Kemp taped a radio commercial on a campaign swing for Brooks on Tuesday, in case the campaign decides to air it.

So far, Harman has a much larger trove to spend in the final weeks of the election. She had $469,468 in cash on Sept. 30, compared with Brooks' $70,174, according to campaign finance reports.

Harman has spent $160,321 since July 1, and Brooks has spent $87,162, according to the reports. Most of the expenditures were for fund-raisers, consultants, brochure printing and polling. Harman's figures, however, did not include the cost of her ads, bought after the deadline.

Both campaigns got boosts from their parties or other candidates. Harman received $5,000 from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Brooks got $10,185 from other candidates, including Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Newport Beach), Rep. Dick Armey (R-Tex.) and House Minority Whip Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.). She also got $2,000 in loans from Rep. Dana Rohrabacher's (R-Huntington Beach) reelection committee.

In all, Harman raised $223,231 in the three-month period to Brooks' $155,068. Harman's contributions included $87,150, or 39%, from political action committees such as those formed by aerospace firms, communications companies, teachers and labor unions. Brooks took $32,366, or 21%, in PAC money, including those backed by real estate companies, petrochemical corporations and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn.

In a recent campaign brochure, the Brooks campaign accuses Harman of breaking her promise by taking the PAC money: "Harman said she would not accept campaign contributions from special interest PACs that have business before her committees." They base the claim on a 1992 Harman campaign flyer.

"She's not only broken those promises, she's done just the opposite," said campaign manager John Perkins.

But Harman's campaign spokesman, Roy Behr, said that the 1992 flyer does not exclude all PAC money. Harman has refused contributions from companies with business before her committees and that have no employees in the district. "It's in order to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest," he said.

* POLITICAL NOTES: B4

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