Independent Tim Cahill, former Democrat and current Treasurer of Massashusetts, hasn’t had the best of luck in his bid to be the next Governor of his state. A long while back, the RGA (Republican Governors’ Association) launched an attack ad against the candidate attacking his fiscally conservative credentials. A few weeks later, Cahill saw a massive drop in the polls from a strong 29% to 14% (an earlier Rasmussen poll also saw Cahill with 23%).
In response, a few days ago Cahill launched a six-figure ad buy touting his independent credentials. However, some experts have questioned the quality of the ads, which do little to build the candidate’s own positive credentials ad catch the attention of voters.
Cahill does have one major advantage over his opponents: money. He has raised $3.5 million, massively outraising the Democrat and holding a significant advantage over the Republican. However, the problem for Cahill is that his slip in the polls could hurt future fundraising. Coupled with the recent attack ads, and his warchest for November could be in jeopardy.
Cahill is running against incumbent Democratic Governor Deval Patrick, who has made his own PR stumbles, Republican businessman Charlie Baker, and Rainbow-Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Cahill’s campaign strategy is interesting: he has openly run to the right of all three candidates, touting his social conservatism and embracing controversial Arizona Governor Jan Brewer along the way.
It is worth noting that the RGA, under the leadership of former RNC chair Haley Barbour, has made destroying third party candidates an art. When Independent candidate Chris Daggett was gaining momentum in the 2009 New Jersey gubernatorial race, many Republicans thought he threatened their nominee’s chances to win the seat from Democrat Jon Corzine. Soon, the RGA ran a six-figure ad buy that quickly cut down Daggett’s support and drained the candidate’s limited financial resources. (Daggett wound up with 5.8% of the vote).