Jonathan Garthwaite

Halloween Eve. In some parts of the country they call it Devil's Night or Mischief Night where mischievous teenagers often go out on a soda-fueled adventure, committing relatively harmless acts of vandalism, smashing pumpkins and egging and toilet-papering houses.

This is to help them deal with their pent-up adolescent energy, I suppose.

In similar fashion, the final days of Election 2006 are upon us and this election has had more than its fair share of mischief.

In some cases they have potential to be true "October surprises" as in the Foley scandal, which clearly had a negative effect on Republican candidates for a couple of weeks.

Others seem to fizzle out as fast as they get started, as did the Sen. Reid-Las Vegas land deal scandal.

The degree to which the mainstream media — television networks and newspapers — cover the stories usually has a direct impact on whether the story has legs or not.

But others clearly fall into the category of harmless mischief. Harmless to the nation but not without consequences to the campaigns involved. Especially if the mainstream media decide to keep an issue on the front page.

One such event is the brouhaha over a campaign ad run by the Republican National Committee in the Bob Corker-Harold Ford Jr. race for the Senate seat in Tennessee.

The election ad in question attacked Democrat Harold Ford Jr on his stances on marriage taxes, contributions from porn producers, gun ownership, death taxes, North Korea, and his attendance at a Playboy party.

Harold Ford Jr. had come back from a double-digit deficit to pull even, and the RNC must have felt it was necessary to point out that Ford doesn't share Tennessee values.

The Democrats and their supporters in the mainstream media jumped on the ad and declared it racist.

The battle for control of the Senate could not be closer and most experts think control rests on the results of elections in Missouri, New Jersey, Virginia and Tennessee.

If the Democrats have any hope of regaining the majority, the Tennessee race is a must win. So it shouldn't come as a surprise to any campaign watcher that this race would be the source of some of Election '06's greatest histrionics.

The focus of the complaint centers on a woman, who can probably be best described as a bimbo, who says she "met Harold at the Playboy party" and "Harold, call me." The ad certainly aims to inject a little humor into a serious race but it focuses on key issues of taxes, guns, national security and character.

Apparently though, the RNC went a step over the line when the Playboy bunny was white.

Jonathan Garthwaite

Jonathan Garthwaite is General Manager of