As the debt ceiling debate continues, the issue has weaved its way into several campaigns this summer, with conservative groups using ads to warn vulnerable Republicans and Democrats against voting for an increase without significant cuts, and candidates themselves using the subject to go on offense in their own spots.
Conservative groups have selectively targeted senators over raising the debt ceiling, specifically going after vulnerable incumbents perceived as moderates in both parties up for re-election in 2012.
The Club for Growth, a fiscally conservative group, released television ads last week targeting Sens. Dick Lugar, R-Ind., and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. The spots hit the longtime senators for voting for the Wall Street bailout and the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailouts, and implore the viewer to tell their senator "no more debt."
On Thursday, another conservative group, Concerned Women for America, bought television time in Nebraska to pressure Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., to oppose raising the debt ceiling without significant cuts.
The group's president, Penny Nance
, was blunt about the fact that they had chosen to target Nelson because he's vulnerable in 2012. "Ben Nelson is up for re-election, and we think he'll be open to hearing from our members, more than ever before," she told the Omaha World-Herald
In other places, Republican candidates are going on offense with the issue. In Nevada's 2nd District special election, Republican nominee Mark Amodei
has made the debt ceiling debate a major theme of his campaign, launching two television ads on the subject. "I will never vote to raise Obama's debt limit and risk our independence," Amodei says at the end of his first ad.
Just this week, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst
mentioned the debt ceiling in a video announcing his Senate candidacy. "Washington is addicted to debt," Dewhurst says in the video
. "It's maxed out all of our credit cards, its asking for more, with no strings attached, and I'm not going to go along with that." Dewhurst also mentions that he is signing the "Cut, Cap, And Balance" pledge.
Much of the focus in television ads in New York's 26th District special election earlier this year surrounded the debate over Rep. Paul Ryan
, R-Wis., and his budget proposal that revamps Medicare. But as the debt ceiling debate took center stage, the subject material of many ads in other races followed suit.