American Crossroads Goes Negative Against Republican Candidate

The influential GOP super PAC is backing former Bush official Elise Stefanik over businessman Matt Doheny in swing congressional district.

National Journal
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Scott Bland
June 2, 2014, 3:54 p.m.

Amer­ic­an Cross­roads is about to get in­volved in an­oth­er Re­pub­lic­an primary, this one for an up­state New York con­gres­sion­al dis­trict the party hopes to flip in Novem­ber. And this time, the GOP su­per PAC is go­ing neg­at­ive against a fel­low Re­pub­lic­an, something the group hasn’t done in oth­er primar­ies this elec­tion year.

Cross­roads will be­gin air­ing TV ads in the House dis­trict Tues­day, ac­cord­ing to an ad­vert­ising sched­ule filed with the CBS af­fil­i­ate in Bur­l­ing­ton, Vt. The form, ac­cessed through the Sun­light Found­a­tion’s “Polit­ic­al Ad Sleuth” track­ing tool, also lists the pur­pose of the ad: “Matt Do­heny NY-21 Con­gres­sion­al; Why he is un­fit for Con­gress.”

Do­heny is mak­ing his fourth run for the closely di­vided 21st Dis­trict, where Demo­crat­ic Rep. Bill Owens is re­tir­ing. But former George W. Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial Elise Stefanik’s cam­paign has drawn sig­ni­fic­ant Re­pub­lic­an sup­port this year in one of her party’s top pickup op­por­tun­it­ies in the House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives.

Do­heny has a poor track re­cord as a can­did­ate: He lost to Owens in 2010 and 2012, and in 2009, he lost the Re­pub­lic­an nom­in­a­tion for a spe­cial elec­tion in the dis­trict. (He also faced some per­son­al scan­dal in his last cam­paign.) Mitt Rom­ney touted Stefanik’s busi­ness ex­per­i­ence in an en­dorse­ment last week, and a group of Re­pub­lic­ans who want their party to elect more wo­men have thrown sup­port be­hind the 29-year-old this year, too. Now, Cross­roads is join­ing them ahead of New York’s June 24 primary.

Cross­roads has got­ten in­volved in two oth­er Re­pub­lic­an primary con­tests so far this year, the Sen­ate races in Alaska and North Car­o­lina, with sim­il­ar pur­pose: to back can­did­ates who it be­lieved gave the GOP a bet­ter chance of win­ning a battle­ground gen­er­al elec­tion. But in both in­stances, the su­per PAC es­chewed the neg­at­ive ad­vert­ising usu­ally favored by out­side groups and only aired pos­it­ive TV ads sup­port­ing two can­did­ates, former Alaska At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Dan Sul­li­van and North Car­o­lina state House Speak­er Thom Tillis. Tillis won his party’s nom­in­a­tion in May.

One of Stefanik’s biggest fin­an­cial sup­port­ers — and also a fan of Sul­li­van and Tillis — is one of Amer­ic­an Cross­roads’ ma­jor donors, New York hedge-fund man­ager Paul Sing­er. Sing­er has giv­en the max­im­um amount of money al­lowed by law to Stefanik’s cam­paign, and a polit­ic­al com­mit­tee fin­anced largely by Sing­er and oth­er em­ploy­ees of his firm dir­ec­ted over $110,000 in ad­di­tion­al funds to Stefanik in the first three months of 2014. Stefanik and a hand­ful of oth­er con­gres­sion­al can­did­ates also ap­peared at a donor meet­ing in As­pen, Colo., that Sing­er held over the winter, ac­cord­ing to The New York Times.

Sul­li­van and Tillis have both re­ceived cam­paign money from an­oth­er fun­drais­ing com­mit­tee sponsored by Sing­er and a sim­il­ar group of donors. Sing­er gave $250,000 to Amer­ic­an Cross­roads in March, ac­cord­ing to fed­er­al cam­paign fin­ance re­cords.

The total cost of the up­com­ing Cross­roads TV in­vest­ment in New York’s 21st Dis­trict is $240,000, ac­cord­ing to a source with know­ledge of the ad buy.

Cross­roads com­mu­nic­a­tions dir­ect­or Paul Lind­say de­clined to com­ment.

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