Ads heat up in Virginia's U.S. Senate race

TV, online ads from Kaine, Stewart take more aggressive tone

ROANOKE, Va. – People around Virginia are reacting to the latest TV ads as the campaigns in the commonwealth’s U.S. Senate race are spending tens of thousands of dollars in the Roanoke-Lynchburg TV market in the final days before Election Day.

The tone has heated up in the last week. Republican challenger Corey Stewart goes after Democratic incumbent Tim Kaine in ads his campaign launched Thursday and Friday. They continue to flood local TV stations.

In one ad, Stewart says Democrats, "are an unhinged, angry mob,” while a picture of Kaine’s face is on screen.

An ad on immigration has people around the state talking.

“Illegal aliens invade America and Tim Kaine and the Democrats encourage it,” Stewart says in the ad.

Many people commented online.

“I think he is right on target. He will get my vote,” Ryan Rose wrote on the 10 News Facebook page, supporting the message.

Rick Carter voiced opposition, commenting, “Fear tactics. Just what I expected from that party and its players.”

Click here to see that ad or leave a comment on the 10 News Facebook page.

The candidates are continuing to focus, in part, on the WSLS 10 News viewing area, which includes Roanoke, the New River Valley, Lynchburg and Southside, among other areas. Both major party candidates have bought more than $50,000 worth of TV ads for the next week just in the Roanoke-Lynchburg TV market.

But Kaine has outraised Stewart by a wide margin. The current senator has raised more than $21 million while Stewart has raised more than $2.3 million, according to recent campaign finance reports.

Kaine has more than $4.8 million in available funds compared to Stewart’s just more than $700,000, and he’s keeping the ads going in a region of Virginia that has many Stewart supporters.

“If elected, Corey Stewart would take health care away from millions and cut Medicaid,” Kaine says in his most recent ad.

“Corey Stewart is dangerous,” a woman says in another Kaine ad.

Click here to see that ad or leave a comment on the 10 News Facebook page.

“Awesome ad, and a great Senator for Va.,” Roger Mullins commented on the post.

Rick Ebinger replied with, “Garbage ad... the guy’s got nothing.”

Most of Kaine's ads have a positive message, highlighting his accomplishments. He talks about his work with the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute in Roanoke in one ad.

Kaine’s campaign told 10 News it has spent $1.6 million on digital ads so far and plans to spend an additional $500,000 by Election Day. 

The online ads target voters by location, demographics and the social media groups to which they belong.

A Kaine campaign spokeswoman said there will be one more TV ad from the senator. A Stewart campaign spokesman said there are more TV ads on the way from him.