Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino (R) is nearly 30 percentage points behind Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) in the New York's governor's race. In other words, he was going to need to go big if he wanted to make this race interesting.
So his campaign did a re-make of the most famous campaign ad of all time, Lyndon B. Johnson's "Daisy" ad, which happened to celebrate its 50th anniversary this month.
This is basically the Hail Mary of campaign ads. Many have tried to emulate it in one way or another; however, few have tried to capture the ad's magic by simply re-airing it — after, of course, superimposing your opponent's face on a mushroom cloud.
Of course, this being a governor's race and not a federal one, it's not a straight national security ad. It ties the explosion -- in a way that's not immediately clear -- to the investigation into the Cuomo Administration.
"These are the stakes. Do we re-elect a governor who may end up in jail?" the narrator says.
The ad's ominous end refers to Cuomo's treatment of the Moreland Commission to Combat Public Corruption, which ended in March. The United States attorney for the Southern District of New York is currently looking into the circumstances of the Moreland Commission's closing, but Cuomo is currently not facing any legal repercussions — and especially not jail.
The "Daisy" ad ran only once, and Astorino plans to only run his remake for a one-day engagement. The candidate is also trailing Cuomo significantly in fundraising.
A radio program asked Astorino on Monday if the ad was "a little much." He responded: "No. It's a provocative ad. It was a provocative ad 50 years when President Johnson and the Democrats used it. ... Andrew Cuomo's face comes out of the cloud because we have a cloud of corruption hanging over our state."