Congressional Leadership Fund Hammers Democrats on National Security, Taxes

Republican super PAC rolls out 8 new ads in House races

Congressional Leadership Fund is attacking Democrats such as LuAnn Bennett, the Democratic recruit in Virginia’s 10th District, on taxes. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Four weeks from Election Day, a Republican super PAC is rolling out a wave of television ads attacking Democrats in eight House districts.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, which is tied to House GOP leadership, is going after Democratic recruits and two incumbents, mostly on national security issues and taxes.

Up until now, the group had only run three ads for the general election. With early voting starting or about to start in many states, the fund is now stepping up its advertising. 

Republicans, who are defending many more competitive seats in the House this year, are trying to keep pressure on Democratic recruits in districts that Democrats have been hoping to pick off during a presidential year. Republicans are also hoping to knock off two vulnerable Democratic incumbents targeted in the ad blitz. 

“With our wave of TV ads, Democrats across the country will find that they have no place to hide from their records. Voters will be reminded what is at stake with their vote for Congress: national security, money in their pockets, and accountable government,” the super PAC's communications director Emily Davis said in a statement.

House Republicans had a rough weekend, with many of this year’s most vulnerable members having to once again condemn remarks made by Donald Trump, and some even calling for the GOP presidential nominee to step aside

It’s too early to tell the down-ballot effects of Friday’s revelations of a 2005 video in which Trump bragged about groping women. All these ads were cut and placed with TV stations well before Friday’s news.

In four of the new ads, the message is about ISIS, terrorism and the Iran deal:

New York’s 1st District

In “Hardened Terrorists,” the Congressional Leadership Fund attacks Democrat Anna Throne-Holst for supporting rights for prisoners at the Guantánamo Bay prison, and for supporting the Iran deal. “Anna Throne-Holst won’t keep us safe,” the narrator concludes. Throne-Holst is challenging freshman Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin in this Long Island district, which is rated Tilts Republican by The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call. The ad will air on cable through Election Day as part of the fund’s $900,000 independent expenditure campaign here.

New York’s 24th District

“Dangerous Deacon” calls Democrat Colleen Deacon unprepared “to fight America’s enemies.” She’s challenging GOP Rep. John Katko in this Syracuse-based district. The ad will air on broadcast and cable as part of the fund's $800,000 IE campaign in the district. The race is rated Tilts Republican

Minnesota’s 8th District

Congressional Leadership Fund hits Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan on his support for the Iran deal and for allowing Syrian refugees into the country. The spot will air on broadcast, cable and online in the Minneapolis-St. Paul and Duluth media markets. The group's IE arm is spending $1.9 million in the rematch between Nolan and GOP businessman Stewart Mills. The race is rated Democrat Favored.

California’s 7th District

The super PAC also attacks Democratic Rep. Ami Bera for supporting the Iran deal. “Ami Bera puts us at risk,” the ad says. Beginning Tuesday, the TV ad will air for one week on Sacramento broadcast, cable and digital as part of a $1.2 million independent expenditure. The race is rated Leans Democratic.

Two of the ads target Democratic recruits on taxes:

Virginia’s 10th District

In an appeal to Northern Virginia voters, the fund's ad says Democrat LuAnn Bennett “will be happy to take your money.” The ad will air on Washington, D.C., broadcast and cable as part of the super PAC’s $1.5 million IE campaign. Bennett is challenging freshman Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock in the race rated Leans Republican

New York’s 19th District

In its second ad in this upstate New York district, Congressional Leadership Fund shows video footage of Democrat Zephyr Teachout saying she’s “against the tax cap.” The ad began airing on Albany broadcast on Saturday and is part of a more than $2 million investment in this open-seat race. Teachout is running against Republican John Faso in this Tossup contest. 

Two more ads target additional seats that Republicans are hoping to keep in their column this fall: 

Nevada’s 3rd District

The super PAC tars Democratic recruit Jacky Rosen as a “Washington puppet.” Rosen is running against Republican Danny Tarkanian for the seat GOP Rep. Joe Heck is vacating to run for Senate. The ad will air on Las Vegas broadcast and on digital as part of the fund’s $2.5 million IE campaign in this open-seat Tossup race.

Texas’s 23rd District

Congressional Leadership Fund alleges that Democratic former Rep. Pete Gallego “failed Texas veterans.” Gallego is running for his old seat against GOP freshman Will Hurd, who unseated him in 2014. The ad will air on San Antonio and Midland-Odessa broadcast, cable and digital media markets. The fund has upped its IE spending here from $1.7 million to $2 million.

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