Netroots favorite Darcy Burner may yet face a challenger for the Democratic nomination in Washington’s 8th Congressional District, but she’s already reinforced her standing as the primary front runner, hiring Dan Kully of Laguens, Hamburger, Kully, Klose to produce TV and radio spots for her 2008 campaign.
And man does he work fast.
Widely acclaimed for his work on U.S. Sen. Jon Tester’s high profile win in Montana — including the memorable hair cut ad — Kully has become one of the hottest properties in the business. And, after an impressive, come-from-nowhere 2006 campaign that brought her within a couple points of the Republican incumbent, Burner found herself aggressively courted by some of the nation’s top media firms.
That Burner and Kully chose each other, says a lot about the kind of campaign we can expect to see in 2008. From this blogger’s perspective, it’s a “you got peanut butter in my chocolate” kinda fit.
Burner is likable, funny, quirky and damn smart — qualities that never fully came across in her well-produced but run-of-the-mill TV spots. Sure she’s young, and a bit of a geek, but those should be pluses in a district that’s home to Microsoft and many of our nation’s high tech leaders.
Kully’s genius is at communicating a candidate’s strengths, even if they’re not quite the strengths the inside the Beltway crowd typically focuses on. He’s creative, aggressive, incisive and not afraid to flout convention. And as a huge bonus, he’s local, heading up LHKK’s Seattle office. Not only does Kully know the region and the state — he did the highly effective media for the No campaigns that helped defeat I-912 (gas tax repeal) and I-933 (takings) — he’s geographically situated to give Burner the attention she needs as the campaign unfolds.
The spot above, the first fruit of the Burner/Kully collaboration, is a good indicator of where this campaign intends to go… and where it should have gone in the final months of the 2006 season. It is a parody of Dave Reichert’s derisively sexist “job interview” ad, and hits back hard at the congressman’s own poor performance in office. If Burner’s biggest perceived weakness is lack of experience in public office, it is also one of her greatest assets, especially with Reichert continuing to carry water for an unpopular President on many of our nation’s most pressing issues. Burner is put forth as an agent of change, a role for which political outsiders are particularly well suited.
The spot also displays a willingness to be as creative as the candidate, and that’s a welcome change from the focus-grouped messaging of the 2006 campaign, and the paint-by-numbers look-and-feel of its media.
Burner is in the process of putting together a team that should strike fear into the heart of Reichert’s handlers, and reason into the minds of potential Democratic challengers. Burner is also on track to come out of the quarter as one of the top candidates nationwide, but she’s still about $20,000 shy of her target. So if you want Burner to be the candidate in 2008, send a message now by sending her some money.
It’s gonna be a helluva a campaign.