GOP-Leaning Group Targets House Democrats with Ads

July 17, 2011 - 11:14 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — A conservative group linked with Republican strategist Karl Rove has launched an ad campaign targeting 10 vulnerable House Democrats up for reelection in 2012.

Crossroads GPS will run ads for the next two weeks targeting Reps. Mike Ross of Arkansas, Jim Matheson of Utah, Kurt Schrader of Oregon, Heath Shuler of North Carolina, Bill Owens and Tim Bishop of New York, Ben Chandler of Kentucky, Leonard Boswell of Iowa, Jerry Costello of Illinois and Lois Capps of California.

The ads target lawmakers on tax and spending issues and for their support of President Barack Obama's policies, including the stimulus package passed in 2009. Crossroads is spending $1.4 million on the campaign, or a little more than $100,000 per district — a significant ad buy in a House race for a third-party group this early in the election cycle.

With the exception of Capps, who won her district with 57 percent of the vote in 2010, each of the Democrats being targeted is considered a top target by national Republicans.

Crossroads and an affiliated organization, American Crossroads, spent $38.6 million in 2010 and were credited with damaging Democrats running for the House and Senate in tight races across the country. In Illinois, for example, American Crossroads spent more than $1 million on ads targeting the Democratic nominee, Alexi Giannoulias, in a race he narrowly lost to Sen. Mark Kirk. In Missouri, the group spent more than $2 million on ads opposing a Democratic nominee, Robin Carnahan, who was defeated by Republican Sen. Roy Blount.

The group has been heavily invested already this cycle, promising to spend $20 million this summer on an advocacy campaign targeting "runaway government spending" — a series of ads that have rapped Obama, Senate Democrats up for reelection in 2012 and now a group of House members. Previous ads have run on national cable as well as broadcast TV in key swing states such as Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada and Virginia.

Steve Law, president of Crossroads GPS, said the ads were designed to highlight Democrats' support for government spending.

"President Obama and his congressional allies have already wasted hundreds of billions of our tax dollars, and we need to send them the message that they don't deserve another penny in taxes," Law said.