Television commercials for 2nd Congressional District candidate Richard Snelgrove began running Thursday, a $21,000 effort to acquaint voters with the Republican challenger.
Snelgrove has gained some ground against incumbent Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, in the polls through such low-cost attempts to attract attention to his campaign as standing on street corners and waving at passing cars.However, he continued to trail the two-term congressmen in a Deseret News/KSL-TV poll taken in late July. Dan Jones & Associates found that Owens' lead had narrowed from 30 points to 19 points.
Snelgrove is hoping that the two 30-second television commercials scheduled to air in the morning and during prime time over the next six days on four Utah stations will help encourage donations to his campaign.
The television ads use the refrain, "Salt Lake Valley roots, Utah values," but while one features the candidate describing "The Snelgrove Economic Plan," the second emphasizes his role in the family's ice cream business.
That ad begins with black-and-white photographs of the first Snelgrove Ice Cream store, fading into shots of Snelgrove working in the family business. It ends with scenes of the candidate and his family.
The other ad has Snelgrove calling for the creation of a partnership between the federal government and private enterprise; for the 2nd District congressman to be an ambassador, bringing new jobs to Salt Lake; and for a fair national tax policy that includes no new taxes.
Money to pay for Snelgrove's first television advertising was raised in just a week from local supporters by showing them copies of the scripts for the commercials, Snelgrove said.
Money to pay for a second series of ads planned for later this month will have to be raised the same way, he said, since the campaign has already spent about three-quarters of the $150,000 raised to date.
Finances also dictate that there will be more of what Snelgrove refers to as "honk and wave," lengthy stands on street corners that allow voters to approach him or just acknowledge him as they drive by.
The television ads do not mentions Owens or his record, although a press release handed out to reporters viewing the ads at Snelgrove's store-front campaign headquarters criticizes the congressman for accepting money from labor unions and other out-of-state interests.
Owens' deputy campaign manager, Matt Durham, said the donations from the political action committees of the national unions mean that local members support the congressman's re-election bid.
Contributions from labor unions and other types of organizations that do not have direct ties to the state are representative of the wide support Owens has, Durham said.
The Owens campaign aired 10 days of television commercials in August and is scheduled to begin airing a new series of advertisements later this month. The Snelgrove ads will not affect that schedule, Durham said.