A horror-chorus of Rittereiser supporters.
A totally normal chorus of Rittereiser supporters. Jason Rittereiser Ad

Sponsored
Tickets for the 14th Annual HUMP! Film Festival On Sale Now!

Jason Rittereiser, the SECB-endorsed candidate running for Congress in Washington's 8th District, has a new ad on television. I can make an argument for why it's good or bad or interesting or politically savvy/non-savvy, but my initial reaction to the ad was something like: "I feel like he's subliminally asking me to join a cult of firefighters." (My conspiratorial reaction may have had something to do with the fact that I'd just walked out of Mission: Impossible - FALLOUT, which I have nothing but positive feelings about.) But my cult feelings were tempered by another writer at The Stranger, who told me they felt as if their grandmother would like the new spot. After watching it a few more times this morning, I realize now that Rittereiser isn't subliminally asking me to join a cult of firemen, he's superliminally asking me to join, and I like it. Have a gander:

According to Rittereiser's campaign spokesperson, the ad started running throughout the district last Friday on broadcast and cable. It features a series of "clips from 100 supporters...from across the district filmed on their own smartphones" that multiply in number and escalate in intensity as the voice-over actor tells Rittereiser's story. The voice makes the case that Rittereiser is the only candidate who can beat "Trump lackey Rossi" in the general election, which is a claim supported by one House Majority PAC poll.

King 5 rightly takes umbrage with Rittereiser's campaign for "cherry picking" one sentence from their article about the House Majority PAC poll to make it seem like they endorsed him. In the ad, the campaign superimposes the phrase "The only candidate who moves ahead of Rossi" over a scene of Rittereiser driving around a field in a tractor, and it attributes the quote to the news station. On Saturday Natalie Brand provided the the full paragraph from which Rittereiser's campaign picks the phrase: “The poll also gives an advantage to Democrat Jason Rittereiser, the only candidate who moves ahead of Rossi in the ‘post-message’ survey, and finds his profile as the ‘highest scoring,’ once more information was given to Democratic and Independent voters surveyed.” With this context, you can see that Brand was simply summarizing the results of the poll, not independently claiming he's the only one who "moves ahead of Rossi."

Though the new ad kinda freaks me out, it gets the blood pumping and suggests that a movement of people is organizing behind "the one who can win," which is the biggest issue in the 8th at the moment. And, in general, Rittereiser's ads seem more motivating than the ads I've seen from Kim Schrier's and Shannon Hader's campaigns.

In her ads, Schrier (and EMILY's List) seems to want to hypnotize Rossi into submission in order to score a win. And Hader is now out with another round of mailers accusing Schrier of being weak on vaccines. We'll get a chance to see how well these communications strategies have been playing out in eight days.