Liberal democratic theory conceptualizes electoral competition as competition over policy. Yet we observe that many campaigns in modern democracies are not only about policy. Instead, many candidates spent notable time and effort to advertise so called valence aspects, such as their personal traits, characteristics and abilities. This paper presents a model of campaigns herethetics that explains why and under which circumstances candidates have incentives to run valence campaigns. Our model produces predictions in line with Riker’s dominance principle: candidates whose valence advantage is larger than their policy advantage should focus more on valence than on policy aspects. These expectations are tested with individual and campaign level data on the 2008 US Congressional Elections, introducing a novel way to quantify electoral advantages. We find that candidates tend to broadcast more valence-related TV ads if their valence advantage is larger than their policy advantage.