Murphy is using cable TV ads to boost campaign

May 23, 1994|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Sun Staff Writer

Six weeks remain before the political season officially arrives with the July 5 filing deadline for the primary, but state Sen. Nancy L. Murphy already is using cable television to advertise her bid to become Baltimore County executive.

Mrs. Murphy, a Catonsville Democrat, was late in her efforts to raise money and organize. But she was the first candidate for executive to formally announce her intentions in January and now is the first to air television advertisements.

None of the other major Democratic executive candidates has produced video commercials, saying it's too soon before the Sept. 13 primary. They include county councilmen Charles A. Dutch Ruppersberger III of Timonium and Melvin G. Mintz of Pikesville and retired District Court Judge John C. Coolahan of Halethorpe.

But, with campaign offices open in Catonsville and Essex and fund-raisers scheduled through August, Mrs. Murphy is in the middle of a two-week effort to let television viewers know there's a campaign under way and she's a candidate.

"Most people aren't thinking about [politics] now," she said last week in her new office next to campaign manager Jack Barnhart's sporting goods store in the 800 block of Eastern Blvd.

Her early cable TV commercials, three 30-second spots and two 10-second ones, "are just introductory," she said.

The ads began running on Comcast cable channels last week and will run through next week. The Murphy campaign plans to use them again later.

In one ad, Mrs. Murphy tells viewers, "I am a woman, the first one to run for this office." (The second part of the statement is not accurate. Lorraine P. Chircus, a former county school board member, ran and lost in the 1978 Democratic primary.)

A second ad uses the Ronald Reagan line from the 1980 campaign against Jimmy Carter. "Are you better off today than four years ago?" she says. "I don't think so. We deserve better."

The third 30-second commercial shows Mrs. Murphy entering a room through a door, which she leaves open. She tells voters that the door "will always be open to you" when she is executive.

The 10-second spots allow her time only to say who she is and what she supports, such as better schools and neighborhoods.

Mrs. Murphy lacks Mr. Ruppersberger's and Mr. Mintz's campaign war chests of $300,000 each, but she has planned events, including a golf tournament, a boat ride and a country cookout, for $35 to $500 a ticket.

She's also trying to line up political endorsements on the east side of the county. But that effort has not been fruitful, despite two meetings of eastern county Democratic officials in the last three weeks.

Eastside politicians have concerns about all major Democratic executive candidates, and there has been no agreement to endorse any Democrat against incumbent Republican Roger B. Hayden, a source among those elected officials said.

State Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell of Fullerton, chairman of the county's Senate delegation, played a central role in both meetings. He came close to endorsing her last week but stopped short.

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