When State Senator Guy Reschenthaler jumped into the Republican primary for the congressional seat in PA-14, he was down 50.8 points against Republican Rick Saccone in our initial poll. The problem? We had only seven weeks to make up the difference.
IF THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY ELECTION FOR US CONGRESS WAS HELD TODAY, AND THE CANDIDATES WERE RICK SACCONE OR GUY RESCHENTHALER FOR WHOM WOULD YOU VOTE?
The poll numbers were daunting, but they also revealed something important. When we asked voters an open-ended question about whom they would support in the upcoming primary, only 36.8% said Rick Saccone. Our 50.8-point deficit shrunk to a 32.8-point deficit.
IN THE UPCOMING REPUBLICAN PRIMARY ELECTION FOR CONGRESS FOR WHOM WOULD YOU VOTE?
This told us that Rick Saccone’s lead was driven by name ID from the recent special election. The battle plan became clear. We needed to use the next seven weeks to introduce voters to Guy Reschenthaler as the conservative standard-bearer and make Rick Saccone an unappealing option.
We launched our first TV ad immediately on broadcast television, painting Guy as a conservative fighter, a JAG officer who prosecuted terrorists in Iraq, and a lifelong Pennsylvanian.
Our second and final ad portrayed a stark contrast. We painted Rick Saccone as an insider politician who enjoyed taxpayer-funded perks, raised taxes and couldn’t even win a safe Republican seat. In contrast, Guy fought against tax hikes and rejected taxpayer-funded perks as a state senator. We even used Saccone’s relationship with President Trump against him, highlighting the president’s disgust with Saccone’s defeat.