early and often

Who Is This Succession-Themed Adam Laxalt Attack Ad For?

Photo: Catherine Cortez Masto/YouTube

The race between Democratic Nevada senator Catherine Cortez Masto and her Republican challenger, Adam Laxalt, is one of the closest in the nation, and it could wind up determining which party controls the U.S. Senate. But it hasn’t been getting as much national media attention as some other key Senate midterms races, probably because neither candidate is a celebrity who can’t give a straight answer about how many houses they own or who somehow managed to make veggie trays funny.

It seems Cortez Masto is hoping to change that with an ad that recounts the allegedly “charmed” life of her opponent; Laxalt, who served as Nevada attorney general, is the son of a D.C. lobbyist and grandson of a politician who represented the state as governor and U.S. senator. The Laxalt attack ad captures both the look and sound of the opening credits to HBO’s Succession, and it might be inspired by Dan Pfeiffer’s quip back in April that Laxalt is the “Connor Roy of this big Nevada political dynasty,” which was promoted by Nevada Democratic Victory.

I don’t want people to think I’m suffering from delusions of grandeur, but … I think this ad might have been created for me personally? There are a few signs that Nevada voters aren’t the primary target.

First, it seems unlikely that many Nevadans will get the reference, as the number of registered voters in Nevada (2.12 million people) is almost double Succession’s entire audience (1.7 million people viewed the season-three finale). And according to my calculations, a sizable portion of those 1.7 million viewers are people who work in media.

Second, the ad is 60 seconds, which is too long for TV but just right for web-based journalists in need of a distraction on a late summer afternoon.

Third, Cortez Masto’s campaign first shared the spot with NBC News. The accompanying write-up says it’s “set to be broadcast in both Spanish and English” but offers no further details about when or where it may be shown on television.

I’m flattered by the Cortez Masto campaign’s outreach effort, and I suppose it worked, because here I am writing this post. But while the ad is well done, I don’t think it’s having quite the intended effect. I know I should be appalled by the prospect of a real-life Connor Roy in the Senate, but I’m starved for Succession content at the moment. Plus, I can’t help but love each and every member of the Roy clan despite their total lack of souls or morals. If anything, I’m now more intrigued by Laxalt. Was he interested in politics at a very young age? Did anyone in his family ever send him a threatening box of doughnuts? Which Billy Joel song would he perform at his birthday party if the vibe were “all bangers all the time”? I hope the Republican candidate will let me know or at least give me an impeccably delivered “fuck off!”

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Who Is This Succession-Themed Adam Laxalt Attack Ad For?