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Political Campaigns on Hold

Will Seberger/Roll Call
Flags fly at half-staff outside University Medical Center in Tucson, Ariz.

A conservative group has shelved a planned ad campaign targeting Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad, pulling back from political activity in the wake of the weekend shootings in Arizona.

American Future Fund’s decision to postpone the North Dakota ads highlights the political universe’s remarkably different week in the aftermath of the Tucson tragedy. Legislative activity already was postponed so Congress could pay tribute to those slain and injured at Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ (D-Ariz.) event Saturday.

Party committees are withholding e-mail campaigns going after Members. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee postponed political events, fundraisers and e-mails related to the health care repeal bill that had been slated for a vote this week.

The National Republican Congressional Committee also is in a holding period, waiting on its work related to the repeal measure until legislative business resumes. Republican National Committee members said they still planned to attend the annual RNC meeting this week. On Friday the party will hold elections for the chairmanship and other positions.

In North Dakota, an early start to Conrad’s 2012 re-election campaign is now delayed.

“We have changed some plans,” Nick Ryan, leader of the American Future Fund, told Roll Call in an e-mail. “We had a two-week buy in North Dakota, and the ad is not running this week.” It was not immediately clear if Conrad’s radio ads would run this week as planned.

The AFF and the liberal group Commonsense Ten had already begun sparring over Conrad’s record as a fiscal conservative over the North Dakota airwaves in the past week.

But political activity related to state legislatures seems to be continuing as many were sworn in for new sessions beginning Monday.

Wisconsin Democrats issued a critical e-mail Monday morning related to the state’s lawsuit over health care reform. The release accused Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen of wasting taxpayer dollars. The Missouri Republican Party announced South Dakota Sen. John Thune’s upcoming participation in a February political event.

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