Americans for Prosperity Launches Major Ad Buy in Alaska

And the Obamacare-centric group is talking about something other than the president’s health care law.

Sen. Mark Begich
National Journal
Alex Roarty
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Alex Roarty
Feb. 21, 2014, 1:19 p.m.

Amer­ic­ans for Prosper­ity is launch­ing a ma­jor new TV ad cam­paign in Alaska — and in a first for this elec­tion cycle, the con­ser­vat­ive out­side group won’t be fo­cus­ing ex­clus­ively on Obama­care.

The group’s new­est 30-second spot opens by ac­cus­ing Demo­crat­ic Sen. Mark Be­gich of break­ing his prom­ise that Obama­care wouldn’t throw any­one off their ex­ist­ing health in­sur­ance. But in­stead of ham­mer­ing away at the Af­ford­able Care Act for a full half-minute, the ad pivots to ac­cuse the in­cum­bent of also sup­port­ing a car­bon tax, an is­sue of par­tic­u­lar res­on­ance in oil-rich Alaska.

“Sen­at­or Be­gich hasn’t al­ways been straight with us,” a nar­rat­or in­tones. “Now, he’s at it again.”

The ad is set to air for three weeks statewide, with a buy of $430,000 — a large pur­chase in the cheap state.

The spot marks a ma­jor tac­tic­al shift for AFP, which since Au­gust has in­ves­ted tens of mil­lions of dol­lars in TV ads al­most en­tirely about Obama­care. The fo­cus on the health care law at the ex­pense of every oth­er is­sue had wor­ried some GOP strategists who worry the party needs to broaden its cri­tique to reach the widest swath of voters.

“The vast ma­jor­ity of our ads in this ac­count­ab­il­ity ef­fort, if not all of them really, have been fo­cused on Obama­care,” said Tim Phil­lips, pres­id­ent of AFP. “The car­bon tax is such an im­port­ant is­sue really for not only the coun­try but es­pe­cially for Alaska, and when we have Sen­at­or Be­gich not telling the truth about his sup­port for a car­bon tax we felt com­pelled to shift some­what from Obama­care to his sup­port for the car­bon tax.”

Phil­lips said that in the fu­ture, his group will de­term­ine which is­sues to high­light in its ads on a “case-by-case basis.”

AFP has been a source of con­tro­versy in Alaska lately — its ma­jor fun­ders, the in­dus­tri­al­ists Charles and Dav­id Koch, drew cri­ti­cism when they closed a re­finery there this month. Re­ports had sur­faced this week that the con­ser­vat­ive or­gan­iz­a­tions had with­drawn ads from the state, which was in­ter­preted as a sign it was try­ing to lower its pro­file in light of the bad press.

But Phil­lips said his group had simply been talk­ing with loc­al TV sta­tion about ad rates.

“We have al­ways [said] we were go­ing to go back on the air in Alaska, and it’s just a mat­ter of de­cid­ing on the tim­ing,” he said.

Demo­crats have sought to mit­ig­ate some of the dam­age from the AFP ads by cri­ti­ciz­ing the group’s agenda, which some­times con­tra­dicts with the GOP can­did­ates it os­tens­ibly is try­ing to help. A spokes­man for the Demo­crat­ic Sen­at­ori­al Cam­paign Com­mit­tee re­it­er­ated that line of at­tack on Fri­day, ar­guing the GOP’s top two can­did­ates in Alaska — former state of­fi­cial Dan Sul­li­van and Lt. Gov. Mead Tread­well — “owe Alaskans an ex­plan­a­tion for hav­ing no prob­lem be­ne­fit­ting from hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars in out­side money by the Koch Broth­er’s but re­main­ing si­lent on the de­cision by the Koch’s to close a loc­al re­finery and fire 80 Alaskan work­ers.”

“It’s clear Sul­li­van and Tread­well care more about their anti-middle-class agenda than Alaska fam­il­ies,” com­mit­tee spokes­man Justin Barasky said.

It’s the second ad AFP has run in Alaska. A dif­fer­ent group linked to the con­ser­vat­ive Koch bil­lion­aires, the Amer­ic­an En­ergy Al­li­ance, has also run TV ads con­nect­ing an­oth­er Demo­crat, Rep. Nick Ra­hall of West Vir­gin­ia, to car­bon-tax sup­port in the last few months.

What We're Following See More »
Spicer Excludes NYT, CNN, BuzzFeed from Press Gaggle
6 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
SANS PROOF
NRA Chief: Leftist Protesters Are Paid
7 hours ago
UPDATE
EXECUTIVE ORDER
Trump: Agencies Should Recommend Regulations to Repeal
8 hours ago
THE DETAILS
NEW TRAVEL BAN COMING SOON
Trump Still on Campaign Rhetoric
10 hours ago
UPDATE
“WE’RE CHANGING IT”
Trump Rails On Obamacare
10 hours ago
UPDATE

After spending a few minutes re-litigating the Democratic primary, Donald Trump turned his focus to Obamacare. “I inherited a mess, believe me. We also inherited a failed healthcare law that threatens our medical system with absolute and total catastrophe” he said. “I’ve been watching and nobody says it, but Obamacare doesn’t work.” He finished, "so we're going to repeal and replace Obamacare."

×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login