Philly Firm Produced This Year’s Most-Notorious Political Ad

Wendy Davis' "wheelchair ad" in Texas has drawn fire. But is it effective?

This is the most notorious — some would say “meanest” — political ad produced in the United States this year. And it was made by a Philadelphia firm:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9hn7GHEhCc

The New York Times reports:

A 30-second TV spot airs only in selected markets in Texas, but just four days after its release, the “wheelchair ad” from the campaign of State Senator Wendy Davis, the Democratic candidate for governor, has provoked a nationwide debate over its tone and the boundaries of political attack ads.

Developed by the campaign’s media consultant, Shorr Johnson Magnus of Philadelphia, the ad opens with a picture of a wheelchair with a 2002 Associated Press report superimposed over it, saying that [Republican frontrunner Greg] Abbott could receive as much as $10.7 million from his legal settlement. It restates the Davis campaign’s assertions that Mr. Abbott fought to block a woman with an amputated leg from suing the state; sided with a hospital that failed to stop a dangerous surgeon; and, while serving as a Texas Supreme Court justice, ruled against a rape victim who sued a vacuum cleaner company for failing to do a background check on an employee she accused of assaulting her.

Previously, Shorr Johnson Magnus might’ve been best known for a video they produced for a PAC that supported President Obama’s campaign against Mitt Romney in 2012:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLo0Jwj03JU

OpenSecrets.org says the company is one of the top Democratic “vendors” in this year’s campaigns:

Since those outside groups are nominally independent from the Democratic Party, Waterfront doesn’t qualify as this cycle’s biggest vendor that works exclusively with Democrats. That title goes instead to Shorr Johnson Magnus, which has been paid $8.4 million this cycle by Democratic candidates, primarily Sen. Ed Markey. While not employed directly by the Obama campaign in 2012, the Philadelphia-based firm was employed by the super PAC Priorities USA Action to create one of the more memorable ads attacking Mitt Romney for his work with Bain Capital.