Speaking of the 12th District congressional race, Republican Keith Rothfus is now running his second ad and like the first one it's quirky and (mostly) upbeat. "Keith's a concerned dad, a regular guy, and he's running for Congress" the spot says, over shots of him playing miniature golf with his kids.
The style of both spots is intriguing in a time when almost every ad, in every race, is very negative. (Especially in the SuperPAC era. See the percentages here at the WashPost's ad tracker.) The new Rothfus ad nudges more in the negative direction by hitting Barack Obama for playing golf and saying Democratic opponent Mark Critz is "out of touch with the middle class," but it does so over shots of rolling golf balls, the Rothfus family, and other sunny visuals.
Most political experts say only negative ads are moving undecided voters in this year's environment, so it will be interesting to watch how this works for the GOP challenger.
UPDATE 12:35PM. The Critz campaign responds:
Congressional candidate Keith Rothfus' today launched a deceptive negative television commercial in an effort to hide the fact that he is a strong proponent of unfair trade deals that ship American jobs overseas. In two ads, voters have learned that Keith Rothfus mows his lawn and plays miniature golf, yet he refuses to explain why he supports unfair trade deals similar to NAFTA that have already cost Pennsylvanians tens of thousands of jobs.
"Millionaire Keith Rothfus supports unfair trade deals that ship Pennsylvania jobs to countries like China and India and that shows that he is anything but a regular guy," Critz for Congress spokesman Mike Mikus said. "No matter how many lawns he may mow or how many rounds of miniature golf he plays, nothing will change the fact that Keith Rothfus supports policies that kill Western Pennsylvania jobs."
"Mark Critz knows that we need to reduce the deficit which is why he voted to reduce our national debt by $2 trillion while opposing every trade deal that ships our jobs overseas," Mikus added.