Trying to turn red seat blue, Democrat targets GOP incumbent via creative billboard

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By Leo Wolfson, State Political Reporter
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A trio of campaign billboards along Laramie’s main hallways grab the attention of many travelers with their unusual marketing approach.

Merav Ben-David, a Democratic candidate for Wyoming House District 46, recently put up a billboard ad along eastbound Interstate 80 as it passes through Laramie, and two more down the road National 287, making fun of his opponent’s fish and chips business.

Billboards read “Stick To Your Fish, Ocean” over a photo of two deep-fried fish sticks.

The ad refers to outgoing Republican Rep. Ocean Andrew’s business, On The Hook Fish And Chips food truck. The company specializes in serving line-caught wild Alaska Pacific cod fish and chips.

Hook, line and sinker

Andrew told the Cowboy State Daily he was not offended by the billboard.

“I think it’s more of an attempt at humor,” he said. “It may seem offensive because some conclude that she is attacking a local product and a workplace, but it would be more reasonable to assume that she is running against my principles and not delicious fries,” he said. he said Thursday night.

Ben-David said she agreed On The Hook’s fish and chips were delicious, but she found Andrew’s legislative record to be less appetizing.

“It’s pretty wonderful,” she said, adding, “I think he should stick with it.”

Andrew said he didn’t have a straight answer on the billboard and that “like most people in Wyoming, I would actually prefer to be left alone to raise my family and take care of my business.”

That said, he also understands that this is not necessarily the recipe for politics.

“However, I know government doesn’t naturally work like that,” Andrew said. “Freedom must be fought and I am ready.”

Free advertising

Andrew is one of the most conservative members of the Legislative Assembly. He is staunchly pro-life on abortion and opposes the teaching of critical race theory.

Ben-David is pro-choice and a strong advocate for green energy.

She also sees her billboard as a form of free publicity for Andrew’s business.

Politics as usual?

Cartoonish or comical political billboards are certainly nothing new in Cowboy State politics.

U.S. Representative Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, released a series of billboards this summer sarcastically reenacting her opponent’s past support for her and opposition to former President Donald Trump.

Park County State House candidate Nina Webber put up billboards in her county in 2020, calling herself a “RINO hunter,” a reference to the phrase “Republican in name only” that some GOP members use it to describe Republicans who are perceived as not being conservative enough.

What’s unusual about Laramie-area billboards is seeing a Democrat indulging in bashing with a prominent ad campaign. Andrew said he didn’t expect this type of campaign in Albany County.

“I did it to get my name out there and people recognize him,” Ben-David said, adding that many people also might not know that Andrew moved to Wyoming during the war. last decade.

“He doesn’t believe in the spirit of Wyoming that all citizens have equal rights and women can make their own decisions about their bodies,” Ben-David said. “This is a state where people value equality and public education funding.”

Ben-David ran for the US Senate in 2020 against US Senator Cynthia Lummis. Although she received 72,766 votes in this election, she likely faces an uphill battle against Andrew, who won this year’s Republican primary by a wide margin and was elected in 2020 with 19% of points on his closest opponent.

She said there was a wide range of voters in her constituency facing a wide variety of issues and priorities.

“Herders are very concerned about drought and water,” she said. “I talk to a lot of people at trailer parks who are worried about inflation and the cost of living.”

She said many people have moved to caravans because they can no longer afford to live in traditional houses. Worse still for these people, she said, is that many out-of-state companies have purchased these parks, leaving more responsibility for residents to pay for utilities.

More efficient than garden signs

Ben-David said she chose the location of the I-80 billboard for several reasons. First because it’s in a main corridor of Laramie. Second, because it was one of the few billboards available.

“The reason I chose this billboard is because my district is very large,” she said. Ben-David said she didn’t find the banners and signs as effective due to the lack of density. “I thought it would be more effective.”

Andrew said he doesn’t like making predictions about his own races, but he has worked hard to listen to his constituents.

“It’s up to them whether I’m still the right person to represent them,” he said.

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