Campaigns

DCCC wastes no time launching positive ads on HR 1 passage

Democrats view legislation as key campaign message even if it won't pass the Senate

The DCCC is running positive digital ads in the districts of its 44 Frontline members, including Georgia Rep. Lucy McBath, left, and Illinois Rep. Lauren Underwood, right. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Immediately after the House passed Democrats’ political money, ethics and voting overhaul on a straight party-line vote, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched digital ads praising the legislation in 44 districts where its incumbents may be facing tough re-elections.

The early digital spending, shared first with Roll Call, underscores how important Democrats view the political optics of HR 1, which is unlikely to go anywhere in the Senate. 

Many House Democratic freshmen ran on a message of removing money from politics, using it to challenge incumbent Republicans who they argued were too entrenched in a broken political system. Democrats successfully tied that narrative to their message on health care, which helped them gain a net of 40 seats in the House. 

“With today’s vote to restore ethics and integrity to our democracy, Democrats came through on our promise to make government work for the people again,” DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos of Illinois said in a statement. 

These targeted digital ads are rare positive ad spending from a campaign arm that’s used to running negative ads  — against Republicans on the shutdown earlier this year, for example — but that is also on defense heading into 2020 as it tries to protect its new majority. 

The targeted ads, which feature a picture of an orange bar of soap labeled “H.R. 1,” will run on Facebook and Instagram.

One ad targeted to Illinois Rep. Lauren Underwood says that her vote for HR 1 “proves that she’ll deliver results for our community and clean up the amount of money in our elections.”

Underwood defeated former GOP Rep. Randy Hultgren in a district President Donald Trump carried. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the 14th District race a Tossup.

Similar ads will be targeted to constituents of the other 43 members in the DCCC’s Frontline program for vulnerable members. 

End Citizens United, which has championed candidates who rejected corporate PAC money, also released digital ads on Friday after the vote. Before last fall's elections, ECU organized a letter pushing for an overhaul like HR 1 to be one of the first pieces of legislation on the agenda in the new Congress. Three-quarters of the Democratic freshmen, who were then still just candidates, signed the letter last October.

The YouTube pre-roll and static ads are targeting the districts of Reps. Katie Porter of California, Jason Crow of Colorado, Jared Golden of Maine, Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, Dean Phillips of Minnesota, Chris Pappas of New Hampshire, Andy Kim and Tom Malinowski of New Jersey, Max Rose and Antonio Delgado of New York, Abigail Spanberger of Virginia and Kim Schrier of Washington. 

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