Negative District 1 ads a 'turnoff' for voters, 'vital' for candidates

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Let the mudslinging begin. Brand new ads have hit TV screens and radio stations across South Carolina's first Congressional district telling you why you shouldn't vote for the other candidate.

Elizabeth Colbert Busch and Mark Sanford's campaigns are clashing. Even ads paid for by groups in favor of one candidate or another are hitting the airwaves airing out dirty laundry.

"Welcome to Air Sanford," chimes one ad released by the House Majority PAC. It goes on to say "...He charged us $400,000 to travel around the world."

An ad paid for by Mark Sanford calls Colbert Busch a backer of Unions.

"Colbert Busch is being funded by labor union special interest money," says the TV spot. "Even the one who tried to shut down Boeing."

The barbs go deeper.

Vote Vets Action Fund put out an anti-Sanford ad that may strike a chord with military personnel. Afghanistan war veteran Col. Barry Wingard is profiled in the piece and says, "Mark Sanford abandoned his post... You can't just walk away. It really hurt me and I think it betrayed all of South Carolina and it's citizens."

Sanford strikes back with another ad he paid for by himself.

"The voices of the union are not being heard," says Elizabeth Colbert Busch in his TV ad. "I promise to be that voice for you."

Sanford used the Democrats own words against her.

Brian McGee, a communications professor at the College of Charleston, says although these ads are repetitive and constant they are doing their job.

"The reason why these negative ads get run is frankly they work most of the time," said McGee.

But they don't work one everyone.

Casey McWethy, a military veteran, says the ads are "a turnoff for a young voter like myself."

McWethy says no matter which direction the mud is slung it winds up on the voters.

"When I hear this kind of stuff it makes me kind of shy away from going to the polls," he said.

James Woodhead, another district one voter, agrees. He says he would rather hear the facts and more about what the candidates will do for the people.

"I'd rather see both candidates focus on specific issues affecting our state," said Woodhead.

Although the ads may annoy some, McGee says their vital down the home stretch.

"It's two completely different strategies with two totally different kinds of candidates," said the professor.

McGee says Colbert Busch's focus is on Sanford's baggage and her own presence as a likable moderate. On the flip side, he says Sanford is trying to steer away from his personal life and talk about the real issues, where the candidate believes he has the upper hand.

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