Bank Group Plans Midterm Ads, Starting With Tester, Budd

Six-figure ad buys on the way in Montana and North Carolina

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., will get a helping hand from the American Bankers Association in his re-election bid. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The American Bankers Association said Wednesday it would weigh into midterm congressional campaigns for the first time with independent expenditure TV ads, beginning with “six-figure” buys in Montana and North Carolina.

“These ads are a concrete example of our stepped-up political engagement efforts,” American Bankers Association President Rob Nichols told hundreds of bankers at the association’s government relations conference in Washington Wednesday.

The first ads will air in Montana in support of Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., a co-sponsor and vocal supporter of the Senate’s banking deregulation bill, and Rep. Ted Budd, R-N.C., a freshman member of the House Financial Services Committee.

Nichols promised more ads for more candidates would follow, but declined to say for whom, or how many. The ads for Tester and Budd could begin running as early as Wednesday, an association spokesman said.

Tester is running for a third term this year. Roll Call/Inside Elections with Nathan Gonzales rates his race as “tilts Democratic.” Budd is running for a second term and his race rates a “likely Republican” rating. 

Nichols said Tester’s and Budd’s support for banking and economic issues endorsed by the association was the reason for the group’s support. That includes Tester’s involvement in crafting the banking deregulation bill and Budd’s support of repealing the Durbin amendment, which cut what banks could charge retailers for each customer’s debit card swipe and was part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul.

Budd was targeted in ads last year launched by the National Retail Federation for his support of a bill, which had a provision to repeal the Durbin amendment that was dropped before the legislation was passed by the full House.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.