I smell some GOP rat fucking going on:
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.
Cunningham launched his first TV ad last month. His campaign said it was part of a seven-figure effort that includes digital advertising and mail.
Cunningham, who has the backing of national Democrats and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, has had a big financial edge. In reports filed this week, he reported $1.7 million cash on hand. Smith reported $95,000. The others had little or nothing to report.
A new poll released Thursday by Public Policy Polling shows Cunningham expanding his lead in the primary. He had support from 29% of likely primary voters to 10% for Smith. More than half the voters were undecided.
Democrats believe the ad is a Republican attempt to undermine Cunningham.
“The fact that Washington Republicans are trying to meddle in our Democratic Primary should outrage every Democrat in North Carolina,” said state Rep. Cecil Brockman, a Cunningham supporter. “This is the latest, desperate sign that Republicans are scared to run against Cal Cunningham.“
In a fundraising email Thursday, Cunningham also alluded to the ad.
“Washington Republicans are running scared,” he wrote. “Shady groups with ties to (Senate Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell and the Koch network have already dumped huge sums of money to try to save our opponent.”
The Faith and Power ad highlights Smith’s progressive stands.
“Who’s the Democrat for U.S. Senate endorsed by progressives and unions? Erica Smith,” it says. “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. Vote Democrat Erica Smith for U.S. Senate, the only proven progressive.”
Asked about the ad, Smith replied in an email: “No comment.”
Well, that about sells it for me. It’s clear that the GOP is more scared of Cunningham and I am now going to double down my efforts to help him win. Click here to donate and get involved with Cunningham’s campaign.
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