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TV ads make their way into Racine mayoral race

Racine's mayoral race between current Mayor Cory Mason and Alderman Henry Perez is a tense one that recently brought out television ads.
Posted at 4:46 PM, Mar 21, 2023

RACINE, Wis. — Racine residents began casting their ballot on the first day of early voting with the mayor's seat up for grabs.

None of the voters that TMJ4 News reached out to wanted to talk about the election.

Racine's mayoral race between current Mayor Cory Mason and Alderman Henry Perez is a tense one that recently brought out television ads.

A group called Concerned Citizens for Safer Streets put out an ad, that aired last weekend only, criticizing Mason for violence and the decreasing number of police officers.

Mason's team paid for an ad that started airing Tuesday and showcases his democratic positions while describing Perez as an extremist who sides with former President Donald Trump and called the 2020 election results fake.

Mason characterized their ad as fair and reflective of the election information and advertising trends in Wisconsin.

Mason's team estimates their final buys will come out to $420,000 leading up to the April 4 election.

Watch: UW-Milwaukee professor explains ads in Racine election

Explainer: Ads in Racine mayoral election

"There's a lot on the line here," Mason said. "The most effective way to do the communication is oftentimes through broadcast."

TMJ4 News reached out to Perez for an interview but did not get a response.

Perez put out a video statement in light of recent ads and described Mason as a "desperate individual."

"We all know my opponent is focused on partisan politics and while he continues to play games, we will be focused on fighting for our city," Perez stated in the video.

Mordecai Lee, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee was surprised to hear about television ads in Racine's mayoral race.

"This is very unusual in terms of political logic. Generally speaking in politics, you have a scarce amount of dollars, and you want to spend them in a very targeted way," Lee said.

However, television is a powerful way to reach people and possibly encourage more of them to vote and Lee said it is a way to keep your bases covered.

In this race, political leanings are on display even though the mayor's seat is technically non-partisan.

"I think that sort of sense of taking politics and partisanship out of these nonpartisan races has totally collapsed. This is the new reality of Wisconsin politics. Frankly, I think it's very disillusioning," Lee said.


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