Saturday, February 22, 2014

Democrats move to respond to Early Flurry of GOP Ads in Vulnerable States

Democrats are moving to counter an unusually early ad blitz by the conservative group Americans for Prosperity by trying to turn voters against the group's wealthy donors. 
The group, which receives funding from industrialists Charles and David Koch, has spent $28 million since October on ads backing conservative policy stances or which highlight the records of vulnerable Democratic candidates, an unusually large sum so early in the cycle.
Liberal super PACs and Democratic campaigns are answering with ads of their own, but they say they are unlikely to be able to match AFP's spending dollar for dollar, in part because their donors usually don't contribute this early in the election cycle.
Democrats say the disparity in spending in some states is large. In North Carolina, for example, Americans for Prosperity says it has spent $8.3 million in the last year on ads focusing on Sen. Kay Hagan (D., N.C.) or which attack the Democratic-backed health-care law or call for budget changes. Democratic groups, by contrast, have spent just under $2 million, according to the Hagan campaign. 
Now Democratic candidates and their allies are invoking the financial supporters of Americans for Prosperity in an effort to neutralize the conservative ads and spur their own donors to open their wallets.
Ms. Hagan has appeared on left-leaning cable news channel MSNBC several times in recent weeks to attack the Koch brothers' opposition to the recently passed farm bill and their support for budget cuts known as sequestration. "These are not policies that North Carolinians want, and they're not going to be fooled by this outside money," the senator said during a Feb. 12 appearance.
A campaign spokesman for Sen. Mark Pryor (D., Ark.), Erik Dorey, said the campaign is telling supporters that the conservative PACs have an "unlimited resource of shady undisclosed outside dollars." Americans for Prosperity says it has spent about $600,000 against Mr. Pryor; his campaign says total spending against the senator has topped $4 million. 
"The Koch brothers are all but on the ballot," said Craig Varoga, president of Patriot Majority USA, a liberal nonprofit and super PAC. "The real opponents in these elections is not the candidates the Koch brothers are trying to help, it's the Koch brothers themselves." 
AFP scoffs at the focus on its donors, saying Democrats want to distract voters from their support for President Barack Obama's health law.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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