Republican hopeful Bill Brock takes his U.S. Senate campaign on television today with ads that stress his service to Maryland, but fail to mention his 14 years as a U.S. senator and vTC representative from Tennessee.
The handsomely produced, 30-second ads focus on Mr. Brock's later work as secretary of labor and trade representative in the Reagan administration, where he claims to have helped create thousands of jobs in Maryland.
Some political analysts see the omission of Mr. Brock's congressional career as a way to duck criticism by his opponents that he is a carpetbagger. Mr. Brock, who has spent three decades in national Republican politics, says he has lived full-time in Maryland only since 1990.
"Obviously what they're trying to do is draw attention away from aspects of his career that folks -- particularly [Democratic U.S. Senator] Paul Sarbanes -- will try to use against him in the general election," said Brad Coker, president of Mason-Dixon Political Media Research, a polling firm.
The Brock campaign put it differently.
"I think it was a choice to talk about the things Bill's done for Maryland," said press secretary Erin O'Brien.
The television spots are regarded as critical to the success of Mr. Brock's campaign. With three weeks left before the Sept. 13 primary, he has yet to develop strong name recognition despite spending a considerable sum -- $823,660 -- on the race in the first half of this year.
Mr. Brock is running in a wide-open Republican primary field which includes Montgomery developer Ruthann Aron, state Del. C. Ronald Franks and perennial political candidate Ross Z. Pierpont. The winner is expected to face Mr. Sarbanes, the incumbent Democrat, in November.
The television commercials emphasize Mr. Brock's connection to Maryland, showing him talking to students at Baltimore's Lake Clifton Eastern High School and walking along the Seagirt Marine Terminal.
They also cite national work by Mr. Brock that he claims has benefited his adopted state.
Two of the ads boast that Mr. Brock opened foreign markets that created more than 7,000 Maryland jobs.
The claim refers to Mr. Brock's work on the 1988 free-trade agreement with Canada that phases out tariffs and has increased U.S. exports there. The calculation of jobs is based largely on U.S. Department of Commerce statistics.
Jeffrey Schott, a senior fellow with the Institution for International Economics, a nonpartisan Washington think tank, said Mr. Brock was a prime force behind free trade agreements in the 1980s, including the one with Canada. While such agreements play only a small role in long-term job growth, Mr. Schott said, the claim and calculations regarding increased employment seemed fair.
"Compared to what you normally hear on the television, this sounds reasonably accurate," said Mr. Schott, referring to other political advertisements.
Two of Mr. Brock's television spots also cite his work helping to create career programs in Maryland that he says have "given inner-city students new skills . . . and new hope."
The ads refer to Mr. Brock's role as vice chairman of the board of directors at the National Academy Foundation, a private nonprofit organization that has established seven career preparation programs at high schools in Baltimore City, and Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties.