The fine art of political ads

Porter spokesman explains Porter’s TV energy ad

Congressman Jon Porter
Photo: Steve Marcus

Congressman Jon Porter’s ad on his energy policies starts off with the bespectacled candidate for re-election standing in front of long rows of solar panels at Nevada Solar One:

“Solar energy: inexpensive, and safe for the environment. And best of all, there’s plenty of it. I’m Jon Porter, and we need a balanced approach to solve our energy crisis. That’s why I helped build the world’s third-largest solar facility right here in Nevada.”


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We called Porter spokesman Matt Leffingwell to ask a few questions:

How is it that Porter “helped build” the world’s third-largest solar facility?

When he was mayor of Boulder City—there was an issue about the endangered-species desert tortoise—he led the charge to purchase that land for the cause of the tortoise and the solar plant. The congressman essentially was the one who purchased the land for solar power.

Explainer: Porter was Mayor of Boulder City in 1990 when the city council offered to buy the 107,000 acres in the Eldorado Valley behind Black Mountain as a desert-tortoise preserve and a site for solar-energy production. He had moved on to the state legislature by the time it was actually purchased in 1995. Nevada Solar One opened in 2007.

Porter’s opponent Dina Titus did an ad addressing her Southern accent. Is her accent an issue in this race?

Jon Porter's Solar Ad - from

The congressman is going to be talking about issues that concern Nevadans: their jobs, how they can afford gas to fill their tanks. Not Dina Titus’ accent.

Explainer: Polling from both sides shows that her accent was an issue in the gubernatorial race, and it’s noteworthy that not only did the Titus team try to get out in front of it with their own ad, but they also followed with a second ad in which Titus narrates the entire time. Porter aides are not complaining about this.

What’s the goal in these short commercials, where you really can’t explain the substance of policy and inevitably come off making risky generalizations in one quick hit?

You want to remind new constituents about the congressman’s record. And we would like to point to Dina Titus’ record. There’s a contrast we want to paint.

Explainer: Our nation is doomed.

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