The ad wars have begun in the race to be the 2020 GOP nominee for governor. Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Burningham is launching radio ads in an effort to introduce himself to voters in the rural areas of the state.
The 3-week ad buy will run on 29 rural radio stations for three weeks at a cost of about $70,000.
Burningham needs to start moving the needle a bit as recent polls put his support in what is expected to be a crowded Republican field in the low-single digits.
“Too often, career politicians focus all their attention on the Wasatch front. But here in rural Utah, the heavy hand of government hinders our way of life,” says the narrator in the spot, making a specific appeal to rural voters.
“He doesn’t come from wealth or privilege. Jeff is a self-made businessman who started with nothing,” continues the commercial, taking what seems to be a thinly veiled shot at former Gov. Jon Huntsman, who is widely expected to make another run for the governor’s mansion next year.
The radio ad buy seems a bit early, given that the 2019 election just ended this week. Burningham’s campaign manager Adrielle Herring says they decided not to waste any time waiting to go on the air.
“It’s important that Utah voters have the information they need to make an informed decision when choosing our next governor,” she said.
Burningham is one of three declared candidates for next year’s Republican nomination. Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox declared earlier this year and has been campaigning across the state in an effort to visit every city and town in Utah. Salt Lake City Council member Aimee Winder-Newton officially joined the fray in October.
Along with Huntsman, other potential Republicans include former House Speaker Greg Hughes, retiring Congressman Rob Bishop, businessmen Spence Eccles and Thomas Wright and Attorney General Sean Reyes.