Two Senate candidates are unveiling TV ads this week - the first two of what promises to be many in Arizona's first truly open Senate race in 18 years.
Democrat Don Bivens struck first with a 30-second spot that portrays Republican Jeff Flake as being part of the GOP's "War on Women." The ad features the clip of conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh calling Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke a "slut." Limbaugh later apologized.
Republican Wil Cardon's 30-second ad doesn't attack anybody, but rather promotes himself as a conservative political outsider who will create jobs.
In its original version, however, the spot cost the Cardon campaign a bit of discomfort Tuesday morning, when it was pointed out the early Internet version misspelled Tucson, with the "s" before the "c." It was corrected before the TV version aired.
Cardon's ad is scheduled to run on cable stations statewide for one week starting today, said Cardon's spokeswoman, Katie Martin. The ad buy was for $230,000, she said.
Bivens' ad will air on cable statewide for about two weeks, said Bivens spokesman Mark Bergman, who wouldn't divulge the cost.
Bivens, a Phoenix attorney and former chairman of the state Democratic Party, is facing off against former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona of Tucson in the Democratic primary.
Cardon, a Mesa businessman, is challenging Flake in the Republican primary. Flake has served six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, from 2000-2012.
The primary is Aug. 28, and the general election is Nov. 6. The winner will become Arizona's first new senator in 18 years, and the 11th in the state's 100-year history.
Bivens' ad says Flake opposes a woman's right to choose and access to insurance for birth control.
"He even voted against the breast-cancer patient protection act," the narrator says. "Jeff Flake took a side. Now it's your turn."
Speaking to the Tucson Greater Democrats Monday, Bivens said he is 100 percent pro-choice and reminded the audience he was on the board of directors of Planned Parenthood in Arizona. He held that position from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s, Bergman said.
"We are going to be punching Jeff Flake in the nose for his complete opposite ends of the spectrum on this stuff," Bivens said.
Bivens said if Democrats don't stand up to the "war on women" waged by Flake and other Republicans, "we are going to find our national agenda dominated by these extreme ... positions. What I think we need to have our national agenda dominated by is caring about the middle class and working families."
Flake's spokesman declined to comment on the ad. On Flake's Twitter account, he posted this on Tuesday afternoon: "Thanks @Bivens2012, I'm always proud to have my conservative, pro-life record acknowledged."
A link for Cardon's new TV ad was sent out Tuesday morning by the campaign. In that version, a scrapbook appears on the screen as Cardon talks about growing up in a family business and hard work being the bedrock. In one picture, it says, "Tuscon, 1959," with the name of Arizona's second-largest city spelled incorrectly.
The ad was pulled from the Internet for about 90 minutes before a new version was posted with the correct spelling of Tucson.
In the ad, the narrator touts Cardon as a businessman who had created hundreds of jobs for 20 years. He also calls Cardon a family man committed to "our values." Cardon is a fifth-generation Arizonan.
"We need an Arizona senator focused on you and your problems," Cardon says in the ad. "That's the Arizona senator I will be."
Cardon says in the ad that he will cut spending, create Arizona jobs and repeal recent health-care reform, which he calls "Obamacare."
Contact reporter Brady McCombs at 573-4213 or firstname.lastname@example.org