The American Action Network and its affiliated super PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund, released the first TV ads of its $13 million-plus October ad campaign Monday. The Republican-aligned groups targeted five congressional districts with the first ads -- three Republican-held, one Democratic-held, and one merged member-versus-member seat.
The American Action Network spots hit the opponents of GOP freshman congressmen Frank Guinta (NH-01), Jeff Denham (CA-10), and Chip Cravaack's (MN-08) districts, along with freshman Democratic Rep. Kathy Hochul's (NY-27). CLF, the unofficial super PAC of House Speaker John Boehner, will advertise in the matchup between veteran Democratic Rep. Leonard Boswell and GOP Rep. Tom Latham in Iowa's 3rd District.
Taxes and spending are the core unifying issues in this wave of ads, though each takes an individual approach to its target. The ads against former Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Rick Nolan (Guinta and Cravaack's opponents), as well as Boswell and Hochul, pick apart the Democrats' congressional voting records. The spots tag Shea-Porter and Boswell with supporting the stimulus -- the New Hampshire ad calls Shea-Porter a "rubber stamp" for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, "even when it meant over $800 billion on a wasted stimulus package." The anti-Boswell ad also cites four votes for higher income taxes, while the ad against Nolan cites four votes for higher congressional pay. Hochul, who harnessed opposition to Medicare changes in the Ryan budget in her 2011 special election victory, gets tagged with sustaining the health care law.
Denham opponent Jose Hernandez doesn't have preexisting ties to Congress, but the AAN ad against him still ties the former astronaut to Washington by citing support for the stimulus package.
AAN is set to spend $2.2 million on TV and digital advertising in that race; $2 million-plus in New Hampshire; $700,000-plus in New York; and $100,000 in Minnesota. CLF is spending over $450,000 on the Iowa race.
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