A campaign commercial featuring Kansas State University football coach Bill Snyder continued to appear on at least two Wichita television stations Monday, after campaign officials had announced that Sunday would be the ad’s last day to air.
The commercial was a point of political contention over the weekend, when an internal K-State e-mail surfaced indicating the campaign had used video of Snyder in the ad without Snyder’s prior knowledge or consent, and that the university requested the ad be taken down – contentions the campaign disputes.
On Saturday, Snyder said at a news conference that he wanted the ad taken off the air.
Roberts is seeking re-election and is in a tight race with independent candidate Greg Orman in Tuesday’s election. A campaign news release blamed the Snyder ad flap on “Greg Orman’s liberal allies in the (K-State) Administration.”
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In a Sunday news release and interviews with Eagle reporters, Roberts’ campaign officials Corry Bliss and Sean Fitzpatrick repeatedly said that the Snyder ad was only scheduled to run through Sunday and would be coming down by the end of that day.
However, the commercial aired at least twice on Wichita television Monday, about 7 a.m. on KAKE-TV and again about 9 a.m. and during the noon news on KWCH-TV.
According to information obtained from KAKE’s traffic department, which oversees the station’s ad scheduling, the ad was logged to run throughout the day Monday, until a request to remove it was received by the station about 8:30 a.m. Monday. It could not be immediately be confirmed whether KWCH had received a similar request.
Fitzpatrick stood by the campaign’s statement on Sunday that the ad was scheduled to run Friday through Sunday only. “If it’s still up, that’s an error on their (the stations’) part,” he said.
Snyder briefly addressed the issue during his post-game news conference Saturday night.
“I made a mistake,” Snyder said. “I am not going to delve into it, exactly how everything happened, but I made a mistake and embarrassed our university. That is my responsibility,” he said. “That was my error. ... I apologize.”
The internal e-mail that surfaced Saturday, from K-State President Kirk Schulz to several university administrators, outlined steps Athletic Director John Currie and Government Relations Director Sue Peterson had taken after the campaign ad began running.
“As soon as we became aware of the video, John Currie (by phone from out of town) and Sue Peterson (in person) visited with Coach Bill Snyder about this video, and he indicated that he was unaware it was going to be used in such a fashion and was apologetic for the resulting issues,” the e-mail said. “I asked Sue Peterson, as Director of Governmental Relations, to ask the Pat Roberts re-election campaign to withdraw the video and not use it any further. They declined to honor our request.”
In response, the Roberts campaign disputed that the university had requested the ad be pulled. Fitzpatrick said he thinks Snyder was aware the video was to be used in a campaign commercial.
Reach Dion Lefler at 316-268-6527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.