Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on campaign political
advertisements each year, and this election year the masses are
subject to both positive and negative advertising.
Candidates running for office must follow strict guidelines
while running advertisements, but groups and organizations not
linked to the candidate can spend millions of dollars and not be
under any mandates.
Ray Martinez (R), the Fort Collins mayor who is running for the
state Senate District 14 seat against Bob Bacon (D), said he is
against these so-called “dirty politics.”
Martinez is the topic of a negative Web site,
www.raylikestotravel.com. The Web site, which has been advertised
on television, details travel expenses that Martinez allegedly paid
for using taxpayer money.
The Web site is paid for by Forward Colorado, a group that
claims not to be related to any candidate or political group.
“Every one of my records are public record,” Martinez said,
insisting he is the one who urged the city to publicly post his
travel expenses on the city’s finance department Web site.
The Web site lists every travel expense since Martinez took
office, including the 10 trips he took to Washington, D.C., spa
treatments and mini bar expenses. The Web site claims Martinez
spent more than $52,000 since he was elected in 1999.
Martinez said the numbers on the Web site are exaggerated and
“If other parties are going to build false straw houses, I will
be the wolf that blows their houses down,” Martinez said.
Many argue that many political advertisements are mean-spirited
and some viewers do not appreciate them.
“Television ads don’t always sway me in one direction, because
sometimes they seem so off the mark, yet inform me on some issues,”
said Katie Miller, a junior zoology major and registered voter.
Many political analysts believe that despite the negativity
found in advertisements, it could be detrimental to the general
public to stop them. If this happened voters might end up knowing
less about the candidates or issues. In contrast, some believe
negative campaigns keep voters away from the polls on Election
“There have been years in the past where I just don’t exercise
my right to vote. (Advertisements) can just be plain wrong and
hateful, I’d just as soon not vote,” said Jeremy Lakestown, a Fort
Advertisements and smear campaigns can be found at many
Advertisements aimed against Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R) have been
controversial across the state. Two television spots paid for by
Colorado Families First ridicule Musgrave for her voting record on
In one ad, viewers see an actress resembling Musgrave leaning
over a dead man in a coffin, stealing his watch and dropping it in
her purse. In another, Musgrave is portrayed as forging through a
battle scene picking the pocket of a soldier during combat.
This particular commercial accuses Musgrave of voting for
nursing homes to continue billing patients after they have
Local third-party groups taking media spots, such as Colorado
Families First and Forward Colorado, are among other nationally
known groups such as Swift Vote Boat Veterans for Truth, which can
funnel money into advertisements and are not as likely to following
the advertising rules as candidates themselves.