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Campaign Finance

Dems focus on House races in heartland

Rachael Marcus Aug 30, 2012

New ads in Illinois and Wisconsin mark what the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee says is its first foray into those states with independent television advertising, Federal Election Commission reports show.

Three ads will air in congressional districts in those states aiming to convince undecided voters to elect Democrats to the U.S. House of Representatives.

In Illinois’ newly created 13th District, “Enough Is Enough” attacks Rodney Davis, the GOP nominee for U.S. House. The ad highlights Davis’ appearance on the “clout list” of disgraced former Gov. George Ryan, who is in jail on corruption charges.

Davis’ campaign criticized the DCCC ad Wednesday morning, saying that Davis was added to the list without his “approval, consent of knowledge” and that “he never asked for a favor, job or political help.”

Davis, an aide to U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., faces physician David Gill, the Democrat, in the fall.

In Illinois’ 12th District, the DCCC released “Protecting the Middle Class,” supporting Gen. Bill Enyart. A Democrat, Enyart was the commander of the Illinois National Guard.

Enyart faces Republican Jason Plummer in the bid to win the seat of retiring Democratic Rep. Jerry Costello in what is expected to be a competitive race.

The DCCC also released an ad attacking Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., who is running for re-election in Wisconsin’s 7th District. Duffy rose to fame as a star on MTV’s “Real World” in 1997, later became a sports commentator for ESPN and then served as a Wisconsin district attorney.

Duffy faces Democratic state Sen. Julie Lassa in November. According to The New York Times, the district is populist-leaning, but recent redistricting will give Duffy an edge, The Hill reported.

In a fourth ad called “Broken Promises,” the DCCC attacks a handful of House Republicans for their “vote(s) to end Medicare.” It is unclear where the ad will air, but it features Republican Reps. Dan Benishek of Michigan, Scott Tipton of Colorado, Pat Meehan of Pennsylvania, Steve Southerland of Florida, Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, Joe Heck of Nevada and Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the DSCC has spent about $3.3 million on independent expenditures, spent mostly on advertising.

The DCCC brought in $8.2 million in July, finishing the month with $36.2 million in the bank, according to its most recent monthly filing with the FEC. The National Republican Congressional Committee brought in $11.7 million in July and finished the month with $48.9 million on hand, according to its FEC report.

Candidate committees dominate the top donors list of the DCCC, including those of Reps. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. ($870,000), Steny Hoyer, D-Md. ($870,000) and John Larson, D-Conn. ($455,000), according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

In other outside spending news:

  • Priorities USA Action, a super PAC supporting President Barack Obama, reported spending $171,000 on radio ads opposing GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
  • Majority PAC, a super PAC supporting Democrats running for U.S. Senate, reported buying ads worth $61,000 opposing Rep. Connie Mack of Florida, the GOP candidate for U.S. Senate in the state. Mack is trying to unseat Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.
  • The Conservative Majority Fund, an independent spending group that has made voter identification laws and Obama’s birth certificate its focus, reported spending more than $70,000 on nationwide telephone calls to voters opposing Obama, FEC reports show. The group has spent a total of $1.3 million on calls opposing Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
  • New super PAC: Ka Kaw Super PAC in New Berlin, Wis.

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