A mysterious outside group that sprang into existence only last week will spend more than $1 million in television advertisements backing North Carolina state Sen. Erica Smith (D), one of the candidates running to challenge Sen. Thom Tillis (R) in November.The group has made heavy buys in the Charlotte, Greenville, Raleigh and Greensboro markets, according to multiple sources familiar with the North Carolina ad market, with advertising set to run over the next two weeks.The ad spending is significant because it is the first major investment into Smith’s campaign. Smith, who represents a district on North Carolina’s northern border with Virginia, has raised just over $210,000, according to her most recent report filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).“Who’s the Democrat for U.S. Senate endorsed by progressives and unions? Erica Smith. Who’s got the courage to vote for 'Medicare for All?' Erica Smith. The number one supporter of the Green New Deal? Erica Smith again. Erica Smith is one of us,” a narrator says in the ad. “Vote Democrat Erica Smith for U.S. Senate, the only proven progressive.”The spending is also notable because the group behind it, Faith and Power PAC, appears to have ties to Republicans. Filings made with the FEC on Jan. 29, when the group was formed, show it will bank with Chain Bridge Bank, a financial institution founded by former Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-Ill.) that frequently does business with Republican political committees, including President Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee.Public filings with the Federal Communications Commission show the group’s television spots were purchased by Neylan & Partners, a Republican media buyer that has worked with Americans for Tax Reform, the anti-abortion rights group Susan B. Anthony List and an outside group that backed former HP chief executive Carly Fiorina’s 2016 presidential campaign.A phone call to Neylan & Partners went unreturned Wednesday afternoon. An email sent to an address listed for the Faith and Power PAC was not immediately returned. The PAC’s address is listed at a private mailbox rental business in Jacksonville, N.C. Smith’s campaign also did not respond to a request for comment.
And today, Moscow Mitch’s Super PAC, Senate Leadership Fund, is blatantly gloating about it on their website:
“We stole a page out of Chuck Schumer’s playbook, and it’s been more successful than we could have imagined. Democrats are burning cash in a $13 million rescue mission for Cal Cunningham, who has proven to be a lackluster candidate with less money in the bank today than the beginning of the year.
“If you add in the fact that Cunningham felt pressured to say he would support Bernie Sanders, I’d call this an unqualified success. We got a lot more for our money than when Democrats spent millions in Thom Tillis’ primary six years ago.” -SLF President Steven Law
Cal Cunningham’s campaign pre-primary report shows he is spending more cash than he is taking in, leaving his cash on hand dangerously low. Thom Tillis, on the other hand, has been able to increase his cash on hand and sharpen his knives for whoever emerges from the Democratic primary.
Democrats have already spent over $10.6 million on television and radio alone to drag Cunningham forward, while we anticipate total spending could approach $15 million or more. This puts Democrats on pace to have to far surpass 2014, previously the most expensive Senate race in North Carolina history, where pro-Hagan outside groups spent $29 million *for the entire cycle.*
Additionally, Cunningham has been forced to tack left on a host of issues, including announcing his support for impeachment after dodging the question for months, and admitting he would support Bernie Sanders for President.
Finally, Senate Democrats pioneered the tactic of meddling in Republican primaries – including in Thom Tillis’ first race in 2014:
In 2014, Kay Hagan’s campaign paid for radio ads and fliers sent to Republican voters claiming Thom Tillis praised Obamacare. “The fliers landed in the mailboxes of Republican voters here last week with a warning likely to unnerve many conservatives. Thom Tillis, the Republican front-runner for a U.S. Senate seat, once called President Obama’s health-care law ‘a great idea,’ the mailer said. The assertion echoed recent radio ads that also seem to question Tillis’s adherence to the orthodoxy of a party that has made its opposition to the Affordable Care Act a centerpiece of its midterm-election strategy. But the warnings didn’t come from any of the seven opponents Tillis will face in Tuesday’s GOP primary, where he has been regularly attacked as not conservative enough. Instead, they were paid for by Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat who will face the eventual GOP nominee in November.” (Rosalind S. Helderman, “Vulnerable Democratic Sen. Hagan runs anti-Obamacare ad against GOP challenger,” The Washington Post, 5/5/14)
Democrats’ Senate Super PAC also spent $2.4 million attacking Thom Tillis on television during the primary. “Tillis was by far the most viable candidate in a general, so Democrats invested big to try and bring him down and force him into a runoff. Senate Majority PAC spent $2.4 million blasting Tillis — including a spate of negative ads over ethics in the closing weeks — and $1.4 million boosting Hagan through the primary.” (James Hohmann, “Tuesday’s takeaways,” Politico, 5/6/14)
Yeah, well ratfucking the 2014 GOP primary didn’t work for us because Tillis is now Senator so they just admitted that they are going to fuck this up. Plus, Cunningham’s been doing a great job raising money:
And Democratic groups are taking the ratfucking seriously: