CASPER, Wyo. — Two months ahead of Wyoming’s primary election, the first campaign advertisements have begun airing on television and radio.
Ads for Ed Murray, a Republican running for Wyoming secretary of state, began airing Monday, said Murray’s campaign manager, Bill Novotny.
The television spot features Murray walking with his wife in nature, at the Cheyenne Depot and in other business and work settings. Wyoming Senate President Tony Ross, R-Cheyenne, and Bob Jensen, former CEO of the Wyoming Business Council, also appear in the ads.
Murray’s ads could be the first in Wyoming thus far.
There are no TV ads broadcast yet for higher-profile candidates, such as U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., or Gov. Matt Mead. Both candidates’ campaigns said their ads will appear in coming weeks.
Secretary of State Max Maxfield, who is retiring from the office, didn’t use television ads, Novotny said. But it’s not unusual for a candidate seeking statewide office to use different media to get a message out.
There are four Republicans running for the office, and the ads will help people get to know Murray, he said.
“We are planning to have a couple different messages we’ll share throughout the campaign to focus on why Ed is the best candidate for secretary of state,” he said.
Murray is a businessman, developer, investor and entrepreneur who has attempted to defend himself against opponents’ attacks that he’s using his own money to “buy” the office by saying he’s been successful with free enterprise and can use his hard-earned money as he chooses.
Republican candidate Ed Buchanan, former speaker of the House, wouldn’t say whether he will film TV ads. But he said the most effective campaign strategy in the Cowboy State is a handshake, looking a Wyomingite in the eye and a word-of-mouth endorsement from an associate.
“Expensive TV commercials made by out-of-state consultants won’t sway Wyoming voters,” he wrote in an email to the Star-Tribune. “I trust Wyoming voters to learn about the candidates directly. I know Wyoming voters won’t just fall for a candidate that talks a good game during an election season, but will choose a candidate who has a proven record of fighting for Wyoming values. Money doesn’t vote, people do.”
Rock Springs Republican candidate Clark Stith, an attorney and city councilman, also said money doesn’t vote. Stith was not surprised Murray was the first candidate to air a television ad, given his wealth.
Stith is also mum on whether he will broadcast ads: “We have a campaign plan, and we plan to execute it,” he said.
Republican candidate Pete Illoway, a businessman and member of the Wyoming Business Council, didn’t return a call to the Star-Tribune by deadline.
Constitution Party candidate Jennifer Young, a Torrington resident and political activist, said she intends to run TV and radio spots.