U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall debuted his first-ever television ad on Friday, a cheerful spot that evokes the growing diversity of his suburban Atlanta congressional district while also emphasizing shared values such as patriotism.
The Lawrenceville Republican’s cable spot doesn’t mention his party, his opponent, President Donald Trump or even the policy issues that have come to define this year’s 7th District race, including health care and the economy.
Instead, it opens with six people saying “I love America” in different languages, including Spanish, Vietnamese and Korean.
“No matter how you say it, our common love of American values makes our community special: faith, family, freedom. These are our touchstones,” Woodall says. “Together, you and I have made a difference for the country that we love, and with your support we’ll continue.”
A similar digital ad urges viewers to partner with him “if you’re pursuing your American dream.”
“Together we’ll make a difference,” he says.
The cable spot was not immediately available online, but you can watch the digital ad here:
The spots are classic Woodall: unfailingly optimistic about the direction of the country – and Congress – at a time when many have grown cynical about both. They also highlight many of the GOP’s core values while steering clear of the red meat issues that animate base voters.
Woodall has been in Congress for eight years but before Friday had never once run a television ad. Since emerging from a crowded GOP primary to succeed his retiring boss, Republican John Linder, in 2010, Woodall has cruised to reelection in the Gwinnett and Forsyth-based 7th District with upwards of 60 percent of the vote.
Trump carried the district by roughly 6 percentage points in 2016, a relatively close number that caught the eye of local Democrats, who for years had struggled to compete in the longtime conservative bastion. Jon Ossoff’s ascent in last year’s 6th District special election, coupled with Gwinnett’s now majority-minority status, motivated them further, and this spring no fewer than six Democrats stepped up to challenge Woodall.
Carolyn Bourdeaux, the Georgia State University professor who eventually secured the Democratic nomination, has continually dominated fundraising and has been up on television for weeks bashing Woodall’s support of the GOP’s Obamacare repeal bill. Last week, she received nearly $1 million in help from liberal mega-donor Michael Bloomberg.
That caused some Republicans to privately express anxiety about Woodall’s low-key political style.
Until Friday, Woodall had focused his outreach on direct mail and online ads. He has quietly held more traditional campaign volunteer and canvassing events in the district while largely refraining from using social media.
Woodall’s campaign has long maintained that the Republican’s high name identification, the district’s traditional GOP voting patterns and polarized views of Bourdeaux in their internal polling point to victory on Nov. 6.
The campaign arms of the House GOP and Democratic Party have largely focused on nearby the 6th District race, a sign they may see the 7th as less competitive.
That hasn’t been enough to convince Bourdeaux, who said Thursday she is in strong position to win the contest.
“The fact that Bloomberg came in tells us a lot,” she said. “I don’t think they would come in on a race that can’t be won.”
Staff writer Amanda C. Coyne contributed to this article.
Read more about the 7th District race:
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