Yes, it’s that time again: Campaign ads return to CT airwaves

Bob Eick

Bob Eick

The snow is melting, the robins are back, the Red Sox are playing meaningful games again — and a candidate for state office in Connecticut has made the first TV buy of 2014. Oh, too soon?

The inaugural ad is not from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who announced for re-election last week, or one of the other more familiar names in politics. That, of course, is the point.

Bob Eick, a Republican candidate for state treasurer, is going on television to make an impression as he watches a string of Republicans endorse his rival for the GOP nomination, Trumbull First Selectmen Timothy Herbst.

“We’re starting the conversation,” said Diane Generous, a spokeswoman for the campaign.

Eick’s campaign paid $2,690 to air 22 spots on FoxCT, where the rates for a 30-second commercial range from $40 on a Sunday morning to $800 for the daily “News at Ten,” according to a purchase sheet filed Wednesday with the FCC. It will not be the only media buy, Generous said.

No other candidate for state office in Connecticut has purchased television time in 2014 on the major broadcast network affiliates: WFSB, WTNH or NBC30. Such purchases are public information at the FCC, while cable buys are not.

Eick, 51, of Ridgefield is a founder of CRT Capital Group in Stamford and a sometime movie producer. He has a producer credit as an investor on the “Blair Witch Project,” an inspiration for his first ad.

The ad, which was posted Wednesday night on YouTube,  shows Eick holding a flashlight under his face as creepy music suggestive of Blair Witch plays.

“Oh, did I scare you? Don’t be afraid,” Eick says, as the flashlight goes off and, as the script notes, “warm, flattering lights go up.” He reassures, “I’m not a career politician.”

Eick says what’s really scary is the state’s unfunded pension liability and the rate of return from the treasurer’s office, which oversees the state’s pension investments.

“We just thought it was important for the people of Connecticut to know what’s going on in the treasurer’s office and that they have a guy in Bob Eick who knows what’s going on and how to fix it,” Generous said.

His campaign commercial will air on FoxCT through April 13. It’s meant to  introduce Eick and begin to make a case for why it’s time to retire Treasurer Denise Nappier, a Democrat first elected in 1998. But mostly, it’s an effort to grab the attention of GOP convention delegates before they commit to Herbst.

And that’s who hit back Wednesday — Herbst, not Nappier. After studiously ignoring Eick, the campaign attacked him in a press release for contributions he made to former U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, a Democrat who drew lots of campaign cash from Wall Street as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.

“You have to respond,” said JR Romano, the manager of the Herbst campaign. “You just don’t take a punch.”

Nappier’s staff had no comment.

Republicans will endorse candidates for statewide office May 17 at the Mohegan Sun.

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