Nolan, Mills, both roll up sleeves and shuck party labels in populist new ads

Posted by on Sep 15, 2016 in Voice-Over | 0 comments

Incumbent Democrat U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan and his challenger Stewart Mills III, a Republican, each portray themselves as reformers out to bring common sense to a stagnant Washington. To make this point, they both do some manual labor to show how they empathize with the working class: Mills splits logs, and Nolan stacks hay bales.

Both ads are vague on what party Nolan or Mills align with, or who they’re running against. They both tout essentially the same idea: a rule that says members of Congress won’t get paid if they don’t do their jobs.

Mills released his ad “Dead Wood” (not to be confused with the town in South Dakota) on Wednesday morning.

“It’s no wonder Republicans, Democrats and Independents are fed up,” Mills says in the ad. “The D.C. insiders from both parties have rigged the system against you. I’m running for Congress to clear out the dead wood.”

The ad then goes to Mills in a voiceover as the camera shows him splitting said wood, while clad in safety glasses and a button-down shirt with rolled-up sleeves.

“I’ll fight for term limits and a new law to stop wasteful spending,” he says. “If Congress doesn’t balance the budget, then Congress shouldn’t get paid.”

The ad is a clear play for populists in the overlap between both parties, adopting a turn of phrase popular among candidates in 2016: the system is “rigged” against everyday Americans by elites.

Although Mills decries “D.C. insiders,” he held high-dollar private fundraisers with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan in August and Ryan’s predecessor John Boehner in 2014.

Nolan also tries to hit up a populist theme in his own ad, also released Wednesday.

The ad, entitled “Out Here,” takes viewers down on the farm, where a series of rural types tell viewers that in this neck of the woods, not showing up for work means no pay.

Then Nolan chimes in to talk about his “No Government, No Pay Act.”

“If those Washington guys shut down the government, they won’t get paid,” Nolan says. “Period, until they get the government working again.”

The ad omits that Nolan is one of “those Washington guys” in that he’s on his fifth term as a member of Congress. Like his fellow members, Nolan gets a yearly salary of $174,000.

Both of the ads finish with a pun. Just as Mills’ splitting maul bites into a block of wood, his voiceover promises to “chop the career politicians down to size.”

The end of Nolan’s ad cuts to a wizened farmer stooping over to pick up a bale of hay. Nolan quickly steps in to help him, but the farmer warns him of a cow pie sitting in their path.

“Yeah, there’s plenty of that in Washington, too,” Nolan quips.

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