DCCC Launches First Digital Ad Campaign Linking House Republicans to Trump

The Democratic committee is targeting 15 districts.

Rep. Erik Paulsen of Minnesota is one of several members of Congress being targeted in a new Democratic ad campaign tying House Republicans to Donald Trump.
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak
May 26, 2016, 10:21 a.m.

House Democrats are launching their first video salvo tying Republicans to Donald Trump.

On Thursday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee unveiled its inaugural digital ad campaign that links House Republican incumbents and candidates to the controversial businessman in 15 congressional districts—14 that the party is hoping to flip and one the party is looking to defend. The ad buy, which is in the five figures, will span two weeks, according to a DCCC aide.

“Donald Trump has pulled back the curtain on House Republicans, revealing their long-held discriminatory and backwards positions that harm women, immigrants, Muslims, the LGBT community, and so many others,” DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Lujan said in a statement provided first to National Journal. “This digital ad campaign is the first of many connections we’ll highlight between Donald Trump and House Republicans.”

The ads will run in the districts of some of the most vulnerable Republicans, including Rep. John Katko in New York’s 24th District, Rep. Robert Dold in Illinois’s 10th District, and Rep. Rod Blum in Iowa’s 1st District. The spots target female independent and Republican voters, potentially persuadable constituencies with whom Trump’s brand could be particularly toxic.

The 30- and 60-second web ads, titled “Building Blocks,” highlight some of Trump’s most incendiary comments, juxtaposing them with literal blocks that show similar legislation or comments offered by House Republicans. The spots include Trump’s comment that “there has to be some form of punishment” for women who get abortions, for example, followed by text that documents House Republicans preparing a new abortion bill.

“Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress—built from the same reckless policies,” a narrator says at the beginning of the spot.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee launched a similar ad campaign last week, tying Democratic Senate candidates to Hillary Clinton—"a living history of scandal, lies, and spin," the ad's announcer says.

The DCCC ads highlight Republicans’ remarks on LGBT issues, immigration, and Muslims, aiming to show that the party adopted positions similar to Trump's before the billionaire burst on to the political scene. It includes, for example, one of Rep. Steve King’s controversial comments on immigrants: “For everyone who's a valedictorian, there's another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

The digital campaign will also reach retiring Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick’s swing district in Pennsylvania, where his brother Brian Fitzpatrick is running to replace him, as well as three other open-seat races: in Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick’s district in Arizona, which the party is defending, and in two districts the party hopes to take over: Rep. John Kline’s in Minnesota and Rep. Joe Heck’s in Nevada. The spots will also target the districts of Reps. Scott Garrett of New Jersey, Frank Guinta of New Hampshire, Bruce Poliquin of Maine, Cresent Hardy of Nevada, Erik Paulsen of Minnesota, Mike Coffman of Colorado, Carlos Curbelo of Florida, and Barbara Comstock of Virginia. The campaign will also be promoted on Facebook in Washington D.C.

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