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Congressional hopeful Ken Harbaugh will launch his first ad during Browns-Steelers game

September 7, 2018

Congressional hopeful Ken Harbaugh will launch his first ad during Browns-Steelers game

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Congressional hopeful Ken Harbaugh will launch his first ad of the campaign season this weekend in a prime slot: during the Cleveland Browns-Pittsburgh Steelers game on Sunday.

Harbaugh, a Democrat and former Navy pilot, is running in one of the most Republican districts in the state. But in a year that looks increasingly favorable for Democrats, the first-time candidate has put up a respectable fight against incumbent GOP U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs.

Harbaugh’s ad leans heavily on his career in the armed forces and features some of his more viral moments like when he snapped his truck in half at a county fair event, breaking his nose in the process. The ad includes footage of the jump, as well as Harbaugh entering a meeting with his nose bandaged.

“Ken Harbaugh is not your father’s candidate for Congress,” the narrator says in the ad. “He’s a Navy pilot. Landed a plane with an engine out. And gave vets jobs cleaning up disasters. Now he’ll clean up the disaster in Washington.”

It also prominently includes his position on House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, one of the most unpopular Democrats in the country. Harbaugh was the first Democratic challenger to publicly declare he would not vote for Pelosi for leader if he is elected.

Harbaugh’s campaign did not disclose how much they were spending on the ad buy.

On paper, Harbaugh is a longshot candidate. Republican President Donald Trump won the 2016 election by 30 percentage points in the district.

But Harbaugh is hoping for an upset by being an atypical candidate. He’s vigorously campaigned and raised $2 million since announcing. He’s looking for a victory like that of Conor Lamb, who won a Pennsylvania district that Trump won by 20 percentage points.

Republicans have shown some signs of worry. During the primary, Gibbs and the Ohio Republican Party sent out mailers attacking Harbaugh’s little-known challenger in an attempt to boost that candidate’s name ID.

The Harbaugh ad was created by Cayce McCabe, who has produced some of the most-watched ads of the election cycle, including one for Amy McGrath, a congressional candidate from Kentucky, and MJ Hegar, a congressional candidate from Texas. Both McGrath and Hegar are veterans as well.

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