NRSC’s Appeal Touts Ties to McCain

Posted April 25, 2008 at 5:07pm

In a media landscape that sometimes feels like it’s all presidential campaign coverage all the time, the two Republican Congressional committees have begun to incorporate the interest and focus on the White House race as they go about making their own fundraising and candidate pitches.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee on Friday sent out a fundraising appeal that for the first time sought to link its fortunes with the rising popularity of the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.).

Penned by NRSC Chairman John Ensign (Nev.), the fundraising letter not only blames the Democratic Senate majority for the country’s “skyrocketing” gas prices, but also promotes McCain’s plan to lower fuel costs.

“Thankfully John McCain has offered a plan to help hard working Americans with the rising cost of gas,” Ensign’s letter states. “But, as they have done before, Senate Democrats who owe their majority to environmental extremists have kept important energy bills bottled up in committees — we can’t afford to let them do this to Sen. McCain’s bill.”

NRSC spokesman Rebecca Fisher said the move by the party committee to parlay the high national interest in the presidential race into fundraising support for Republican Congressional races is only natural.

“John McCain is a rock star in a lot of the states where we have competitive races, and we’re glad to incorporate that celebrity status to help our candidates,” Fisher said.

Last week, the National Republican Congressional Committee released ads in the tight Louisiana special election race that tied the Democratic candidate, state Rep. Don Cazayoux, to the Democratic presidential frontrunner, Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.). That ad came about two months after the NRSC released an ad likening Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) to Obama’s rival for the presidential nomination, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.).

McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds said Friday that because Republicans have the benefit of having their presidential candidate already selected, they can plan messages between the various Congressional committees and the McCain campaign in a way that the Democrats cannot. And by doing that, they can cut through all the noise of the election year.

“There are so many messengers out there that have their own messages that they are taking to the voters that we are trying to do what we can to make sure … that we’re all working off of the same guidelines as much as possible,” Bounds said.