TV Ad Analysis: Senator Clark Barnes for Governor

HNN Staff
Senator Clark Barnes
Senator Clark Barnes

With ten days to go in the special election primary for Governor, more political ads on TV and radio are getting out there.  This latest offering from State Senator Clark Barnes (R-Randolph) is being added to the mix statewide. It will give Republican and Independent voters a chance to see someone else to compare and contrast alongside Betty Ireland and Bill Maloney, who have already put TV ads up.

View Senator Barnes' TV ad here.


State Senator Clark Barnes is a popular figure in his 15th Senatorial District, a nine-county district in Eastern West Virginia, winding from Upshur County in the west and Berkeley County in the east.  While Barnes is a household name in that district, having been re-elected to a second term in 2008, he needs to break out and attract voters from other sections of the state.   This "bio" ad, introducing Barnes, his background, and the approach he would bring to the role of Governor is important for him to collect support across the state.

In the ad, Barnes' strong pitch to conservatives in his party is that he will not be afraid to challenge the federal government when necessary to protect the rights and privileges of West Virginians.  By saying this in a calm, dignified way from his State Senate office at the statehouse, Barnes shows that he is no radical.  Rather, he is making the effort to show that he is both bold and a principled leader.

West Virginia core businesses like coal, timber, and farming have advocacy groups who are worried about the Obama Administration's Environmental Protection Agency's crackdown on their practices.  Barnes is sending a strong signal to these groups that he will be a champion for their causes.

Barnes also emphasizes his military service, both in an old photo as well as his talk towards the end of the commercial, where he states that the discipline he learned in the the military will help him make the tough calls on the state budget.   As the only Republican candidate with military experience running this year for Governor, that may help Barnes connect with any veteran or veteran's family member who sees this ad.

Finally, Barnes clearly emphasizes the need for the next Governor to develop a business environment to help foster more jobs statewide.  In fact, he leads off in his ad in a hard hat at a development site--another signal that he intends to be a hands-on Governor when it comes to the sagging state economy.  As a successful businessman from Elkins, Barnes has the credibility to make such a claim.

The messaging in this ad hits well, with Barnes looking the part of a hands-on Governor who is optimistic about the state, while watching out for federal intrusiveness.   Barnes comes across as a tough, reasonable, and mature individual who knows how to get the job done.   In terms of production quality, the high definition gives the ad a crisp, clear effect, though the lighting could have been better in the indoor scene.

But in terms of introducing Senator Barnes in a way that helps the audience see him as their next Governor, this intro ad succeeds.

Overall Grade:  A