As of last week, both county executive candidates have ads streaming straight to Howard County voters' TV sets.
Republican candidate Allan Kittleman, a state senator, launched his advertising campaign July 22. Just nine days later, Democratic contender Courtney Watson, a County Council member, started running her own ad.
Watson's commercial packs several of her campaign's major themes into a 30-second spot.
"Howard County is a great place to live, and I'll work hard to keep it that way," she says, looking straight into the camera before pausing to wave at children on their way to school, a neighbor in a car, a teen taking out the recycling and two women power-walking throughout the course of the ad.
To keep Howard County "great," she says, "means setting high standards for our schools and high expectations for our students" as well as recruiting companies "to create good jobs in high-tech and cyber security."
"It takes all of us together to keep Howard County on top, and I'll do my part as county executive," she concludes.
Like her opponent, Kittleman, Watson does not mention party affiliation in the commercial, though it does touch on the idea of continuity with the current administration's policies, which she has often mentioned throughout her campaign.
"Our goal was to introduce people to our campaign and mention the most important things in the high quality of life in Howard County: the school system, jobs and the community that we all enjoy, and how my campaign is focused on making sure we retain and improve our high quality of life and those important values that Howard County citizens expect," Watson said of the ad.
Watson appears in the TV spot to make her case, in contrast to Kittleman's ads, which show a photo of the senator at the end. His commercials feature Democrats and Independents – which Kittleman's campaign needs to target in order to win – who say they are planning to vote for the Republican from West Friendship.
Watson said the ad would run through August, and might be extended into September.
Although the timing of her commercials closely coincides with those from the Kittleman campaign, she said that wasn't the reason they're hitting the airwaves now.
"We have had a long [strategic] plan from August through November, so this is part of our plan," she said.
GOP opens campaign headquarters
The Howard County Republican Party hosted a grand opening of its new campaign headquarters Aug. 1.
Located at 9050 Chevrolet Drive in Ellicott City, the office features multiple rooms where candidates can store their signs and hold meetings.
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Howard GOP chairwoman Loretta Shields said the campaign headquarters was open to all Republican candidates in the county.