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There are state-based groups getting involved as well. Montana Hunters & Anglers Action, a 501(c)(4), spent more than $200,000 on two TV ads criticizing Rehberg for supporting a bill “that gives the Department of Homeland Security complete control over millions of acres of Montana public lands,” as the announcer said in one ad.
The Rehberg campaign argues that voters will focus on Tester’s support for Obama’s policies and Supreme Court nominees, not outside groups attacking the six-term Congressman.
“Montanans aren’t going to be distracted by false attacks from left-wing activist groups,” Rehberg adviser Erik Iverson said. “They know Denny offers real solutions while Jon Tester votes for President Obama’s agenda 97 percent of the time. At the end of the day, that’s the fundamental difference between the candidates, and it will be the difference in this election.”
The Montana Hunters & Anglers group is led by Land Tawney, a senior manager at the National Wildlife Federation; George Cooper, a communications adviser and former CNN producer; Kendall Van Dyk, a Democratic state Senator; and Barrett Kaiser, a former longtime aide to Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.).
In an interview, Tawney would not disclose the group’s donors, but he said that as long as the group can raise money, it plans to continue producing ads next year.
“It’s a way of life and something we hold dearly, and I think we want to make a difference on issues,” Tawney said of the group’s focus on outdoor sporting. “Depending on what those issues are and what kind of traction we can get on fundraising, I think we’ll be planning around issue-based stuff.”