Republican gubernatorial candidate Allan Fung filmed an ad about making Rhode Island “open for business” at a diner in Ohio, according to the restaurant owner.
Michael Pappas, of Tommy’s Diner in Columbus, said Fung spent an hour filming at his diner July 31 after it had closed for the day. Pappas said Wednesday that Fung, the mayor of Cranston, was on a “strict schedule” so they did not talk about why he was in Ohio.
Campaign finance reports show Fung has paid $127,000 to a communications company, Strategic Media, in nearby Delaware, Ohio, for advertising services.
In the new ad, Fung said he’ll stop “the perks, the powerful, the payoffs,” and challenge the old way of doing business to make Rhode Island open for business again.
A spokesman for Fung, Robert Coupe, would not say where the ad was filmed. He said Wednesday the ad “speaks for itself, and we stand by its message.”
“We really don’t talk about the production of our ads,” Coupe said.
GoLocalProv first reported the ad appeared to have been shot in Ohio. It began airing Aug. 6.
The diner has been the setting for political commercials in the past, Pappas said, but the candidates are usually campaigning for office in Ohio or for president.
Fung faces businessman and Moderate Party founder Ken Block in the Sept. 9 primary. Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, Treasurer Gina Raimondo and former Obama administration official Clay Pell are running in the Democratic primary.
New numbers filed this week by the campaigns show Fung trails behind his competitors in the money race. Fung had around $221,000 in his campaign account as of Monday, according to finance reports his campaign filed with the Board of Elections on Tuesday. His fellow Republican Block had around $489,000.
On the Democratic side, Raimondo led the field with $1.7 million cash on hand as of Monday, Taveras reported he has $850,000, and Pell reported $800,000.
The reports also show spending by the five candidates has exploded and reached a rate of nearly $600,000 per week, much of it on TV ads. The candidates collectively spent more than $3.5 million in the six-week period from July 1 to Monday.
The biggest spender was Raimondo, who spent $1.4 million, followed by Pell, who spent $1.2 million. They both had TV ads in heavy rotation, accounting for much of the more than $200,000 per week they’re each spending. Taveras spent around $100,000 per week.