It seems everyone has an opinion about the extraordinary deluge of campaign ads in the 6th Congressional District. That includes Reporter Newspapers’ editors, who square off here with different points of view. Managing Editor John Ruch is ready to nail his mailbox shut, while Editor-at-Large Joe Earle is cranking up his TV volume.

Enough mailers! (But more Texan postcards!)

By John Ruch

Reporter Newspapers Managing Editor John Ruch

As I dig through the landfill’s worth of mailers that 6th Congressional District candidates buried me under, my favorite is a picture postcard from Texas. I didn’t much care about its handwritten, yet vague, appeal to vote Democratic. I was just relieved to see some colors that weren’t mugshot gray, and to acquire an actual fact or two.

Thanks to that postcard, I learned more about the Fort Worth Botanic Garden than I did about any top candidate.

Jon Ossoff spent millions to tell me that he doesn’t like Trump. Meanwhile, the Republicans acted more like Valentine’s Day than Election Day, fighting each other over who liked Trump more.

Less clear was exactly what their Trump-hate or The Donald-love would do for me and my life here in the 6th. One ad did give me very personalized info – a Democratic mailer shaming my “average” voting record and threatening that my neighbors would find out.

My neighbors have seen me bring home dinners consisting entirely of frozen personal pizzas, so I figured I can’t look much more pathetic to them. But it was something to see an election so wretched, it even went negative on its own voters.

Then again, maybe issues are nonsense. Tom Price, the last guy to hold the office, touted his Obamacare-slaying plan at every Rotary luncheon for years. The seat is open because he finally got called to Washington to do the deed, and look at how that turned out.

Well, if it’s going to be superficial name-calling, go all-out. Make this a helmet-vs.-tousle showdown of the candidates’ impressive hairdos – both contrasted with Trump’s, of course. Make it a wordplay war about who can get the most out of the pun-inducing names “Handel” and “Ossoff.”

Meanwhile, maybe I’ll just sit this one out and take a vacation from the inarticulate shouting. I hear Fort Worth is lovely this time of year.

Turn up the TV, the ads are on!

By Joe Earle

Reporter Newspapers Editor-at-Large Joe Earle

I admit it. When the negative TV ads started appearing in the 6th District race, I rolled my eyes and changed the channel like everybody else. After all, I don’t even live in the district (I live in the 5th), so what did I care about a bunch of mean-spirited TV commercials tossing dirt in an election I can’t even vote in?

But then something changed. As the campaign picked up steam, I got into it. I realized that we metro Atlanta election watchers had the chance to see something we seldom, if ever, truly are exposed to: a batch of take-no-prisoners political ads in a campaign that stood for a moment at the center of the national political landscape.

Usually, no one but us cares about our campaigns. Because of the way lawmakers have drawn our districts, most of our elections are so uni-partisan as to be virtually non-partisan; we can guess whether a Republican or a Democrat will win before the first candidate files. But this was different. This time, outside interests seemed to think there was a fight here worth spending their money on.

Of course, they mostly don’t care who wins, just what party the winner belongs to. Still, their machine-driven, mean-spirited attack ads can make for good political theater. What new vile abuse will they pile on Nancy Pelosi today? Who believes any of those angry folks on TV actually live around here and aren’t really just actors? And when did local Republicans start to turn on one another so viciously?

Now that the campaign has ground down to two candidates, one from each party, I expect the TV ads only will grow nastier. As long as such baldly mean-spirited ads don’t become a regular thing in the future, I’m OK with that. Just for this one race, bring it on.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.

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