Unions triple-team Allen in Virginia
Three labor unions have teamed up to try to thwart the election prospects of former Sen. George Allen, the Republican running for U.S. Senate in Virginia.
The political action committees of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Service Employees International Union and the National Education Association launched “Better” on Wednesday, attacking Allen on Medicare and women’s health.
“That’s George Allen,” the narrators say. “Cuts Medicare. Reduces care for women. More power for insurance companies.”
Allen supports vice presidential nominee and Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget, which proposes a voucher-type system for Medicare that Democrats argue would result in deep cuts. When speaking of women’s health, the ad refers to Allen’s support of a failed amendment to the Affordable Care Act that would allow employers to refuse to cover contraceptives for “moral reasons.”
Allen faces former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, in the race to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Jim Webb, to whom Allen lost in 2006.
“Tim Kaine’s friends have reached a new level of desperation,” Allen spokeswoman Emily Davis said in an emailed response to the Washington Post. “Virginians know scare tactics when they see them, and they know George Allen has a record of fighting to strengthen and expand Medicare coverage and women’s access to quality health care.”
The ad, produced by AFSCME PEOPLE, SEIU COPE and the NEA Fund for Children and Education, is part of a $2.25 million campaign that the team will run through Election Day, according to a press release.
Majority PAC, a super PAC supporting Democrats for U.S. Senate, also helped pay for it, according to the disclaimer at the end of the version posted by the super PAC, though this fact was left out of the unions’ press release.
This is not the first team ad of the election season. Majority PAC and House Majority PAC, the Democratic super PAC backing U.S. House candidates, have occasionally joined forces with union PACs — in particular SEIU or AFSCME —to produce and air ads. Other Democratic groups, like the nonprofits Patriot Majority USA, VoteVets Action Fund and League of Conservation Voters, have also teamed with super PACs and unions.
Joint ads have been largely absent from Republican outside spenders.
Virginia is the second-most expensive U.S. Senate race for independent spending, having attracted $18.5 million to date, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Nearly $10 million of that has gone toward opposing Democrat Kaine.
Crossroads GPS, a conservative nonprofit, is the top spender in the race at $5.2 million, followed by Majority PAC, which has spent $4 million. The race has attracted ads from environmental groups, anti-abortion and abortion rights groups and business associations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business.
In other outside spending news:
- Crossroads GPS’ sister super PAC American Crossroads reported spending $7.3 million on ads opposing President Barack Obama. American Crossroads began airing the ad “Four More” on Wednesday.
- The National Rifle Association of America Political Victory Fund, a PAC, reported spending $2.5 million opposing Obama and Democratic Senate candidates in Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Wisconsin and Virginia.
- Planned Parenthood Votes, a super PAC, reported spending $807,000 opposing GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
- Women Vote!, a super PAC affiliated with the abortions rights group EMILY’s List, reported spending $341,000 opposing former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in the state. Thompson was also hit with a reported $778,000 ad buy from AFSCME PEOPLE.
- Women Vote! is targeting U.S. House races in New Hampshire with “Too Extreme,” which opposes Republican Rep. Frank Guinta, and “Not on Our Side,” which opposes Republican Rep. Charlie Bass.
- House Majority PAC launched “Flashlight” opposing Republican Chris Collins, running for U.S. House in New York’s 27th District against Democratic Rep. Kathy Hochul, and “Wrong Plan” opposing Republican Martha McSally, who is running in Arizona’s 2nd District against Democratic Rep. Ron Barber.
- The American Hospital Association PAC reported spending $244,000 opposing Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.
- The NRDC Action Fund, the advocacy nonprofit of the National Resources Defense Council, reported spending $287,000 opposing former Republican Rep. Heather Wilson, who is running for U.S. Senate in New Mexico. Wilson has been the target of environmental groups’ spending throughout the election.
- The conservative super PAC Ending Spending Action Fund reported spending $657,000 on ads opposing Obama and supporting Romney.
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