The Houston Chronicle reports that Ben Hall is releasing his fifth –and likely final– television commercial before next Tuesday’s general election. The ad, unlike his some of his previous spots, are about neither issues nor the campaign per se. Rather, the 30 second video features Hall and his wife, Saundra, discussing how they met one another.
“BEN HALL: I met Saundra in church, I was seventeen.
SAUNDRA HALL: He’s wearing orange bell bottoms, white platform shoes, and I nudged my cousin and said, what is that?
BEN HALL: I was the first boy she ever kissed.
SAUNDRA HALL: I was attracted to his intelligence, but I was thinking more like pastor and pastor’s wife.
BEN HALL: April eighteenth, nineteen eighty-one, seven PM. Married thirty-two years.
SAUNDRA HALL: And he’s still never given me a proper honeymoon.”
Hall’s press secretary, Julia Smekalina, also released the following statement with the ad:
“This election, Houstonians have had the opportunity to not just get to know Ben but the entire Hall family. Ben and Saundra built their life and raised their family right here in Houston. The love that that they share for Houston is only surpassed by the love they have for one another. Saundra knows Ben better than anyone else and her dedication and support of his candidacy is a testament to their commitment to this City and Houstonians.”
As Mike Morris in the Chronicle article notes, these last ditch ads by the Hall campaign as most likely being paid for directly out of pocket, as it had been previously reported that Hall’s campaign would not be purchasing any more ads.
I personally like the theme of the ad, but feel it is not appropriate for 5 days before the election. This is the type of introduction that should have been accomplished throughout the summer. As Erik Vidor points out, the honeymoon comment is an odd choice to put on a political ad. I do not know what they were trying to go for by bringing that out, but it is a strange thing to do considering how wealthy Hall is. Perhaps I’m old fashioned, but this detail bothers me a little.
I would have never, never thought to make this connection a week ago, but following Hall’s recent brush with untethered homophobia, it would be remiss of me not to examine if he is making some sort of family values statement here. Parker, obviously, is not married, so the comparison could be a last minute effort to sway socially conservative voters. HCC Trustee Yolanda Navarro Flores pulled this tactic just recently.
I do not think that is what Hall is doing, but I would not put it past him at this point. Like I have said before, I have traditionally held a very large amount of personal respect and admiration for Hall. But that all changed on Monday when he spewed countless homophobic statements and publicly opposed an ordinance preventing discrimination against LGBT people. It is 2013, and Hall is ostensibly a Democrat, the citizens of Houston deserve better.
That being said, make what you will of the ad.