Mills airs first TV ads of governor’s race

Jeremy Duda//March 10, 2010

Mills airs first TV ads of governor’s race

Jeremy Duda//March 10, 2010

Owen ‘Buz’ Mills put his sizeable war chest to work on Monday (March 8), airing the first television ads of the 2010 governor’s race.

Mills, a Paulden business owner and National Rifle Association board member, began airing his 60- and 30-second ads on network and cable television, according to campaign manager Camilla Strongin.

Mills, who is challenging incumbent Gov. Jan Brewer in the Republican primary, touts both conservative credentials and his outsider status, both of which appear to figure heavily into his campaign. The commercial describes Mills as a Marine who wants to protect the border, a businessman who knows how to bring jobs to Arizona and a “true conservative” who will make tough but necessary decisions about the budget.

“The truth – you’re not going to hear much of it from the politicians, but you’re sure going to hear it from me,” Mills said in the ad.

Strongin wouldn’t say how long the ads will air, but indicated that Mills will be a regular fixture on Arizonans’ televisions for a while.

“They’re going to run for a while,” Strongin said. “Our intention is to stay on the air throughout the primary and have a dialogue with the voters on some pretty important issues, and this is the beginning of that dialogue.”

Mills’ initial campaign finance report from early January showed that he put $2 million of his own money into his campaign, a number that impressed many but led some to wonder if was actually willing to spend it all. Republican political consultant Constantin Querard said the ads put those questions to rest.

“It’s kind of nice to see because he dropped a big check and then he left the state for a month to do business stuff and you didn’t see him,” Querard said. “I guess it’s clear now that he does intend on spending it. Now we’ll see how well he does. They were good ads though. I like them.”

Democrat consultant Barry Dill, of the firm FirstStrategic, estimated that Mills is spending as much as a quarter million dollars per week on the TV spots.

“It ought to make everyone believe that the guy’s serious about running for office,” Dill said. “If it’s a serious buy he’s probably spending between two and two hundred fifty thousand dollars a week.”

Being the first gubernatorial candidate to hit the airwaves may be a necessity for Mills, who was almost completely unknown, even within Arizona’s political establishment, when he filed to run for governor in December. Querard said Mills’ name identification among voters is virtually zero, making this a good time for Mills to start airing ads, especially since Brewer, state Treasurer Dean Martin and former Arizona GOP Chairman John Munger can’t afford to do the same.

– By Jeremy Duda