Skip to comments.GOP money floods battlegrounds, threatens Dems' hold on Senate
Posted on 05/01/2012 2:33:02 AM PDT by Libloather
GOP money floods battlegrounds, threatens Dems' hold on Senate
By Alexander Bolton - 05/01/12 05:00 AM ET
Third-party groups allied with the Republican Party have vastly outspent Democratic incumbents and their backers in Senate battlegrounds.
The disparity in advertising firepower threatens Democratic control of the Senate and could have an impact on the presidential race as well.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, a first-term Democrat from Ohio, has been the primary target of outside groups, which have outspent his allies by a ratio of 10-1 this election cycle.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Crossroads GPS and 60Plus Association have funded the bulk of a $5 million attack campaign against Brown, according to Browns campaign. Another Democratic source puts the cost of the campaign at $5.1 million.
Brown has received limited support from liberal groups. The League of Conservation Voters has spent $516,000 on television ads touting Browns vote to build the clean-energy industry in Ohio.
Things are looking pretty good in Ohio, a senior GOP senator told The Hill.
Browns campaign manager, Sarah Benzing, sent an anxious appeal to potential donors Saturday.
Karl Rove, Pat Boone and all their special-interest pals are saturating Ohio with negative ads and smear campaigns theyve already spent $5 million, and that number is only going to increase, she wrote. So far, the special interests have outspent our campaign more than 10-to-1 in this race.
GOP political strategist Karl Rove is the mastermind behind Crossroads GPS, and the singer Pat Boone appears in the 60Plus Association ad.
We arent funded by unlimited contributions from corporations and the super-rich, and so we need you guys to come through. Big time, Benzing added.
Brown aired his first campaign ad in late April, a $150,000 buy in several cities.
This comes after more than a year of $5 million in ads against Sherrod Brown without any response, said campaign spokesman Justin Barasky.
Outside groups will likely offset any edge Democratic incumbents might have over challengers in regular campaign funds. Brown, for example, had $6.3 million in cash on hand at the end of March, while his opponent, Josh Mandel, reported $5.3 million.
Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the Senate Democrats chief political strategist, sees the uneven spending war between Republican- and Democratic-allied outside groups as the biggest threat to Democrats retaining control of the Senate.
Democrats are planning to make the spending of secretive third-party groups a bigger political issue by bringing campaign finance legislation to the Senate floor, perhaps in June.
The law, an overhauled version of the Disclose Act, would require groups classified under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code to disclose donors of more than $1,000 publicly. It would also require groups to claim responsibility more obviously for the content of ads and disclose their five biggest donors at the end of the clips.
Brian Walsh, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said Democratic leaders should focus on the economy instead of third-party groups.
The biggest threat to the Democratic majority is not outside spending, its their failed economic record, he said.
Conservative and pro-business groups have outspent liberal groups by more than 4-to-1 in Missouri, where Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) faces a difficult reelection. Polls show her trailing or even with several Republican opponents.
Crossroads GPS has spent about $1.6 million, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has spent $988,000 and the 60Plus Association has spent $481,000 on television advertising, according to Democratic sources who track media buys.
While McCaskill has suffered $3.9 million in attacks, pro-Democratic groups have funded $887,000 in ads praising her record on veterans and other issues, according to Democratic media-tracking sources.
Patriot Majority has spent $446,000, Vote Vets has spent $193,000 and Senate Majority PAC has spent $227,000, according to the Democratic source.
A second Democratic source said outside groups have spent a total of $4.3 million against McCaskill and $908,000 to support her. This source said McCaskill has spent $677,000 so far to promote her own candidacy.
McCaskill has tried to make the uneven battle between conservative and liberal outside groups an issue in the campaign. She recently aired a television ad criticizing groups not from around here for spending millions to attack and attack.
A senior Democratic aide said other vulnerable Senate Democrats might pursue the same strategy.
Middle-class Americans feel their concerns and economic situation is on the backburner in favor of a system rigged for the very wealthy and well-connected, the aide said.
In Montana, outside groups have spent nearly $1.97 million in ads attacking Sen. Jon Tester (D), while Democratic-allied organizations have spent $857,000 blasting his opponent, Rep. Denny Rehberg (R), according to Testers campaign.
Congressman Dennis Rehberg has voted for corporate special interests during the 30 years hes been in elected office, so its not surprising to see that theyre now spending millions of dollars on his behalf, said Testers campaign manager, Preston Elliott.
A GOP source who tracks media buys noted, however, that Democratic allies had spent a combined $1.7 million on positive ads extolling Testers record and spots attacking Rehberg, narrowing the funding disparity in Montana.
Its remarkably hypocritical that even as Tester tries to make campaign spending transparency a central issue of this race, his own advisers and special-interest allies have spent more than $1.6 million running campaign ads on his behalf without disclosing their donors, said Chris Bond, a spokesman for Rehberg.
And Republicans say that liberal groups outspent their more conservative counterparts last year in Massachusetts, where Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) faces a stiff challenge from Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren (D).
The League of Conservation Voters aired a nearly $2 million ad buy before Thanksgiving of last year chastising Brown for siding with Big Oil and voting repeatedly against our environment and public health. But whatever advantage Democrats might have had this year was neutralized by the Peoples Pledge Brown and Warren signed to ban third-party ads in their race.
Mike Palamuso, a spokesman for the League of Conservation Voters, said the group would honor the pledge.
it would be nice to put those fools on record on a budget.
Only liberals could see that as a positive after the steady stream of horrible news about the failures of such crony-driven ventures.
How do they know how much the other side spends when they can't even keep track of their own campaign donations?
Obama and the battle for Wisconsin are sucking up all the political dollars out there for the commies.
yes and if Luger and Hatch go that will be even better it will take 2 hidden RAT votes out of the “liberal” column.
If the GOP gets more than 60 % of the white vote in the average Congressional Distrct according to CBS like they did in 2010, it could be more than that. Who do you think are the "7 seats in hand"?
This is the one thing Rove is good at.
Hmmm... The article doesn’t mention the unions spending a single dollar. Hmmmm...
Karl Rove, Pat Boone and all their special-interest pals are saturating Ohio with negative ads and smear campaigns...”
Oh MY GOD, not the evil PAT BOONE?!!!!!!
The biggest threat to America is the Democratic majority.
I think they’ll lose in WI and Walker will be victorious, but even if Walker loses and the MSM touts it as a major loss, the reality is that Statist losses across the nation will be crippling to their movement.
The movement is like a hydra though, you must forever be on guard and hacking away.
When she declines to vote on any legislation which affects people outside of Missouri, then I'll concede that she has a point.
Sounds good by Dick Morris, but that video was made in Feb.
Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the Senate Democrats' chief political strategist, sees the uneven spending war between Republican- and Democratic-allied outside groups as the biggest threat to Democrats' retaining control of the Senate... Brian Walsh, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said Democratic leaders should focus on the economy instead of third-party groups. "The biggest threat to the Democratic majority is not outside spending, it's their failed economic record," he said.Upchuck Schumer is also wrong because his party's leader is Obama, and Obama has had no trouble shaking down people for more money, but doesn't give a sh!+ about the reelection of *any* other Democrats (white ones anyway).
My unsolicited take on the 2012 Senate Races:
Likely to very likely GOP Pickups: Montana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota.
Possible GOP Pickups: Connecticut, New Mexico, Wisconsin. I’m least confident about Connecticut, but it’s a possibility, IMHO.
Longshot GOP Pickups: Hawaii. Lingle probably has the best chance to win this seat any Republican ever has had. She’s liberal on social issues, but ought to be far better than Akaka on other issues. I’ll take “half a loaf” in a deep Blue state like Hawaii.
Possible GOP losses: Massachusetts, though I think Brown will ultimately prevail. Maine. Indiana if Lugar is defeated in the primary. Mourdock is a real conservative and worth the gamble, but it’s also realistic to assume he’ll have a tougher road to the general than Lugar, who has clobbered every Democratic challenger easily over the years. Donnelly could win here, though it’s anything but a sure bet.
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