The best of the worst campaign ads: 2018 primary edition


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Doug Lamborn has a very sad ad. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Doug Lamborn has a very sad ad.

The June 26 primary election is just right around the corner, and soon the smorgasbord of candidates will be whittled down to a single candidate for each major party in contested races. The losing candidates will disappear, taking their terrible campaign ads along with them. So we thought we'd do a round-up of the best of the worst campaign ads heading into the state's first open primary season. Remember, this is film criticism, and isn't intended as a voter's guide, or even a commentary on the candidates' platforms.

So, without further ado:

The four best worst ads of the 2018 primary season:

Gold: The one where Levi Tilleman pepper spray's himself

Levi Tilleman, a Democrat running in the 6th Congressional District in central Colorado, thought President Donald Trump's idea of giving guns to teachers was ludicrous, so he came up with a better one: Give them pepper spray. And just to make sure it would work, Tilleman decided to test it out — on himself.

The most unfortunate thing about this ad may be that there isn't enough time left before the primaries for a Republican to one-up Tilleman.

Silver: Meet Darryl Glenn, he's one tough mudder

El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn wants you to know that he’ll ride waterslides, climb rope nets and crawl through mud to the most obnoxious of soundtracks if that’s what it takes to represent Colorado’s 5th Congressional District, which includes Colorado Springs. The Republican's new campaign ad, shot GoPro-style, features him doing just that.

Ironically titled, "Meet Darryl Glenn," you never even see the candidate's face in the entire video, or learn a single thing about him besides that he's an "unapologetic Christian constitutional conservative, pro-life, Second Amendment-loving veteran." In the video, Glenn voices his Republican battlecry overlapped with the thumping baseline and catchy chorus of "Changes" by Faul, Wad Ad, Pnau. It makes for a full frontal assault on the human auditory faculties, coupled with what look like outtakes clips for a Tough Mudder ad haphazardly thrown together.

It's a step up in incoherence and only a slight step down in machismo from the Billy Blanks-Bowflex-throwback-style ad Glenn ran last campaign season, featuring himself doing pull-ups in a red, skin-tight Under Armour shirt and swinging his big, black kettlebells all over the screen, taking a few breaths between sets to trash talk his then-opponent, incumbent U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet. Glenn lost that race. This time, he's one of many candidates challenging incumbent Congressman Doug Lamborn.

Bronze: Doug Lamborn's very sad ad

Republican Congressman Doug Lamborn, running to retain his seat in Congressional District 5, may want to make some changes to his PR team, because this might be the laziest ad of the primary season. First of all, Lamborn seems to get it backwards: You're supposed to tell us what your opponents did, then insert the clip of President Donald Trump saying it's sad. Second, don't use the same clip of Trump telling us it's sad over and over again. Obviously, Lamborn is using Trump's words out of context, but if he at least changed up the clips it might slip past the dumber viewers. The same clip three times in a row? That's just insulting.

You're an establishment politician, Doug, and seeing you lower yourself to this level is, well, it's very sad.

First runner-up: Stephany Rose Spaulding says a lot about nothing

Stephany Rose Spaulding's sincere tone and adopt-this-abused-puppy background music make this ad appear quite serious on the surface, and she's touching on serious issues, but listen closely and you'll realize the underdog Democrat in a red district doesn't really say anything of substance about Congressional District 5.

We know "everyone deserves a seat at the table," and "everyone deserves representation." But who's seat is it? Whose lives are on the line? Which communities are being impacted right now? How are they being impacted? And what are you going to do about it? We don't get those answers. And respecting diversity and inclusivity sound really great, but what does that mean? How does that translate into policy?

Honorable Mentions:

The McFeminism Award: Saira Rao, Democratic candidate for Congressional District 1 in Denver
This ad had so much potential. Everything about it was excellent, that is except one word: "Vagenda." That one word as all it took to leave a strange taste in the viewers' mouths and completely distract them from everything else.

Most Annoying Voice: Walker Stapleton
If there is one thing President Trump is really good at, it's giving nicknames to his opponents — Lying Ted, Crooked Hillary, etc. If Trump ever had to run in a primary against Republican gubernatorial candidate and Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton, I have no doubt that after the first debate he would be forever dubbed "Squawker Stapleton."

Most Boring: Polly Lawrence, Republican candidate for Colorado Treasurer

Polly Lawrence wants to tell you about the Bloomberg Terminal. The Bloomberg Terminal is in the Treasurer's office and is used to track financial... yawn.

Why do we care about the Bloomberg Terminal? What the hell does it have to do with voters? Why are we wasting readers' time with this?

I don't know. In fact, don't watch it.

Best Republican Gun Porn: Bill Rhea, Doug Robinson, and Owen Hill

Nothing like gunshots to wake you back up. Talk is cheap; shut up and sling lead!


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