Americans for Prosperity Now Going After Democratic Governors

The group’s Senate spending is grabbing headlines, but AFP has played a major role in recent gubernatorial and state policy fights, too.

National Journal
Scott Bland
See more stories about...
Scott Bland
March 20, 2014, 10:56 a.m.

The biggest spend­er in U.S. Sen­ate cam­paigns so far this year got in­volved in a battle­ground gov­ernor’s race this week.

Amer­ic­ans for Prosper­ity, the con­ser­vat­ive non­profit that has spent about $30 mil­lion on ad­vert­ising in Sen­ate races over the last sev­er­al months, re­leased a TV ad cri­ti­ciz­ing Illinois Demo­crat­ic Gov. Pat Quinn this week. Cap­it­ol Fax re­por­ted that AFP’s Illinois chapter was put­ting about $120,000 to­ward run­ning the ad on cable.

{{third­PartyEmbed type:you­tube id:x6ewK­vO5­FOo}}

It’s a sign that des­pite the Wash­ing­ton mag­ni­fy­ing glass on AFP’s fed­er­ally fo­cused spend­ing so far, state polit­ics will be an­oth­er pri­or­ity for the group in 2014. The ad ap­pears to be AFP’s first TV spot of 2014 af­fect­ing a gov­ernor’s race, and it comes in the state that gives Re­pub­lic­ans their best chance to de­feat a Demo­crat­ic gov­ernor this year. Quinn, who has nev­er been blessed with great ap­prov­al rat­ings, faces Re­pub­lic­an ven­ture cap­it­al­ist Bruce Rau­ner in the gen­er­al elec­tion after the two won their party nom­in­a­tions on Tues­day night.

“We con­sider our iden­tity as a state-based or­gan­iz­a­tion,” said Dav­id From, AFP’s Illinois state dir­ect­or. From said the ad isn’t ex­pli­citly fo­cused on the gubernat­ori­al elec­tion: Quinn has a ma­jor budget speech com­ing up, and part of his plan for right­ing the state’s fin­ances in­cludes sup­port­ing a pro­gress­ive in­come tax in­stead of the state’s cur­rent flat struc­ture. Amer­ic­ans for Prosper­ity has been fight­ing the pro­pos­al for months.

Taxes will be a huge top­ic in the gov­ernor’s cam­paign, where Quinn and Rau­ner have already traded ac­cus­a­tions of “class war­fare” and fix­ing the state budget is one of the main top­ics.

“We want to make sure the pub­lic is aware of where people stand on the is­sues,” From said. “Gov­ernor Quinn is really go­ing to try to make [the elec­tion] a class-war­fare fight, and the pro­gress­ive in­come tax is an ar­row in that quiver.”

Though AFP’s Sen­ate-re­lated spend­ing is grabbing the most at­ten­tion right now, it has long been in­volved in state polit­ics and spent big money boost­ing a few Re­pub­lic­an gov­ernors in 2012. The group spent around $10 mil­lion sup­port­ing Wis­con­sin Gov. Scott Walk­er and his policies in 2011 and 2012 ahead of and dur­ing his ex­pens­ive re­call elec­tion. AFP also spent about a half-mil­lion dol­lars on North Car­o­lina’s state gov­ern­ment elec­tions in 2012, in­clud­ing some dir­ect mail sup­port­ing vic­tori­ous Gov. Pat Mc­Crory.

Since then, AFP re­mained act­ive in state-based policy fights in 2013, run­ning ad­vert­ise­ments in In­di­ana, North Car­o­lina, and else­where push­ing con­ser­vat­ive policy goals. Now that the elec­tion year has rolled around and 36 gov­ernors’ man­sions are up for grabs even as state law­makers keep writ­ing new le­gis­la­tion, we may start see­ing more ads like this one around the coun­try.

What We're Following See More »
STAFF PICKS
What the Current Crop of Candidates Could Learn from JFK
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Maher Weighs in on Bernie, Trump and Palin
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE

“We haven’t seen a true leftist since FDR, so many millions are coming out of the woodwork to vote for Bernie Sanders; he is the Occupy movement now come to life in the political arena.” So says Bill Maher in his Hollywood Reporter cover story (more a stream-of-consciousness riff than an essay, actually). Conservative states may never vote for a socialist in the general election, but “this stuff has never been on the table, and these voters have never been activated.” Maher saves most of his bile for Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, writing that by nominating Palin as vice president “John McCain is the one who opened the Book of the Dead and let the monsters out.” And Trump is picking up where Palin left off.

Source:
×