RGA’s “Spotlight” hits Hick where he’s strong

The latest in a fresh wave of anti-Hickenlooper ads from the Republican Governor’s Association strikes out against one of the incumbent Democrat’s much-discussed strengths, namely: making quirky, positive campaign videos.

“Hickenlooper loves making campaign ads, but he despises making tough decisions,” says the deep-voiced narrator before rolling into the RGA’s anti-Hick platform, which focuses on the death penalty, gun-control and has recently come to include immigration.

Overall, the ad is more of a well-shot, moderately clever general re-stating of the RGA’s approach in this campaign. They’re focused on emphasizing Bob Beauprez’s seriousness, aka leadership, in contrast to what they hope to develop as a silliness in Hickenlooper. To that end, the ad shows Hick getting his makeup done and passing off a beer before stepping into the spotlight.

There are no actual citations to any Hickenlooper gaffs, political flubs or specific contested decisions in “Spotlight” aside from a pretty funny jab involving a crew member who holds up a sign that reads “Stop saying clemency.” That’s in reference to Hickenlooper’s vacillation around offering a stay, and possibly now clemency, to convicted murderer Nathan Dunlap.

Yet for an ad that keeps it light, this single concrete reference to the death penalty raises just about the weightiest issue in the race and perhaps the most distinct difference between Bob Beauprez and John Hickenlooper.

Beauprez and Hickenlooper both opposed ballot initiatives to give communities more control over oil and gas development in their area. Neither candidate loves marijuana legalization, but both have promised that they’d uphold the people’s law while working to keep weed smoke out of teenage lungs. Both claim to be the moderate, pro-business, purplest version of their respective Parties.

But the good old campaign spotlight has made at least one distinction very clear indeed: Hickenlooper opposes the death penalty, Beauprez says set an execution date.


[still from “Spotlight”]