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Dold starts radio ad campaign in 10th Dist. race
By Russell Lissau | Daily Herald Staff

Republican congressional candidate Robert Dold of Kenilworth


Democratic congressional candidate Dan Seals of Wilmette


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Published: 8/4/2010 3:17 PM

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Republican congressional candidate Robert Dold is buying airtime on Chicago radio stations to boost his name recognition with potential 10th District voters.

The Dold campaign has released three, minute-long radio advertisements in recent weeks. They've aired on WGN 720-AM, WBBM 780-AM and WLS 890-AM, three stations heavy with news and political talk.

His Democratic opponent, Dan Seals, hasn't yet turned to radio to promote his campaign. Seals spokeswoman Aviva Gibbs declined to comment on her camp's media strategy.

The Dold team sees radio as a key tool for the campaign. Spokeswoman Kelly Klopp called the first three ads "an introductory buy."

"We wanted to get on radio before the airwaves are saturated later in the campaign," Klopp said. "We plan on being on radio until Election Day."

Dold, a business owner from Kenilworth, is running for elected office for the first time. Seals, a business consultant and university lecturer from Wilmette, unsuccessfully ran for the 10th District seat in 2006 and 2008.

The candidates are vying to replace U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk, a Highland Park Republican who's giving up the seat to run for the U.S. Senate.

With the seat open, the 10th District race is among Illinois' more high-profile congressional contests, and it's expected to be costly on both sides.

Dold had raised about $1.5 million as of June 30, his most recent campaign disclosure report showed. Seals had raised about $1.7 million at that point.

Both candidates have been building their brands this summer with parade appearances and other public events, but Dold was the first to strike through major media.

The first Dold radio ad, called "Meet Robert Dold," began airing July 20. In it, Dold talked about being a small-business owner and complained about the growth of the federal government.

The second piece debuted about a week later. It was called "There is a Better Way" and focused on the economy.

The third ad, called "Back to Work," debuted this week. It focused on the controversial cap-and-trade environmental legislation, health care and unemployment.

Dold speaks to listeners in all three commercials. Seals isn't mentioned in any of them.

Klopp declined to say how often the spots are running or how much they cost.

The Dold campaign will be launching TV ads soon, Klopp said.

"(We) are confident that we'll have the resources to be competitive with our opponent on TV, both on cable and the major networks," she said.

Gibbs criticized the content of the first Dold ad, in which the Republican hopeful called himself a "social moderate."

Dold's public support of partially privatizing social security and gradually increasing the retirement age contradicts that label, Gibbs said. So does the primary election support he received from the Illinois Federation for Right to Life, an anti-abortion group, she said.

However, a notation on the federation's website indicates it did not endorse Dold in the five-way GOP primary because he did not meet its standards for opposing abortion. Rather, it only recommended him over the other candidates because of his stances on some abortion-related issues.