Bald, angry guy was supposed to depict Mike Hope, the Republican state lawmaker and Seattle cop who then hoped to become the next Snohomish County executive.
The ads sought to recreate an encounter Hope had with Mill Creek police nearly a dozen years ago when he was a passenger in a car driven by a woman stopped for drunken driving.
Reardon, a Democrat now serving his third term as county executive, used the ads to focus attention away from problems that marred his years in office and toward Hope's behavior in an embarrassing encounter when he was in his early 20s.
For $130,000, political consultants put together words, video and scary music to portray Hope as an out-of-control bully who condones drunken driving.
It may have been some of the best political mud tossed in 2011, according to people in that business.
Campaigns & Elections magazine was scheduled tonight to announce winners of its fourth annual Reed Awards competition. The hit piece aimed at Hope was named a finalist in two categories: "Best Villain" and "Toughest Television Advertisement."
"The finalists represent the top talent in the political consulting business in the fields of Direct Mail, Online Advertising, Newspaper Advertising, Phones, Political Technology, Signage and Collateral Material, Radio and Television," according to the competition's sponsors.
Reardon's ads were put together by Fletcher Rowley Inc., of Nashville, Tenn. An online bio for William B. Fletcher Jr., a partner in the firm, used to brag about his reputation as the "Dark Prince" of Tennessee politics, a creator of attack ads said to come "out of nowhere ... like a drive-by shooting." When I checked Friday, a more staid bio was posted, focusing more on his writing chops and education.
What kind of advertising would help Reardon's image now? The county executive remains the focus of a criminal investigation by the Washington State Patrol. Detectives are examining allegations from a woman county employee who said Reardon misused public money to pursue a years-long affair.
There is still no word about when that investigation is likely to conclude.
UPDATE The ad created for Reardon's campaign came close, but was bested by others. Here are the winners.
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