The DCCC's First Target: Dan Benishek
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released its first independent expenditure ad of the cycle Thursday, targeting freshman Republican Rep. Dan Benishek of Michigan's 1st District for supporting Paul Ryan's budget.
Benishek's seat, in the state's upper peninsula, voted narrowly President Obama in 2008 but is expected to go for Mitt Romney this time, and the ad doesn't mention Romney's vice presidential choice by name. But it hits Benishek for voting to "essentially end Medicare," and quotes him saying, "Privatizing Social Security and Medicare is the only way to do it."
The district has a high number of seniors, making the Medicare attacks potentially potent. The seat was previously held by Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak, who retired in 2010 amidst heavy criticism for his role in the fight over health care reform that year.
The congressional race is expected to be close: a June poll conducted for the Democratic-aligned House Majority PAC showed Benishek leading his Democratic opponent, former state Rep. Gary McDowell, just 40 percent to 38 percent. It's a rematch for the two, who faced off when Benishek was first elected in 2010.
The National Republican Congressional Committee has emphasized Benishek as a physician rather than a member of Congress, putting up billboards with the line "Trust a doctor to fix Washington."
-- Scott Bland contributed.