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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

American Crossroads Ramps Up, Reaches Out, Lashes Out

Chris Cillizza reports:

American Crossroads, the behemoth conservative organization that has already spent tens of millions on ads targeting Senate races, will drop more than $3 million on ads targeting a dozen House districts over the next two days.

Beginning tomorrow, American Crossroads will launch ads against Democratic Reps. Heath Shuler (N.C.), Sanford Bishop (Ga.) and Scott Murphy (N.Y.) and continue their ad campaign against Rep. Maurice Hinchey (N.Y) and in support of Rep. Charles Djou (R-Hawaii).

Then on Wednesday, Crossroads GPS, an issue-based group affiliated with American Crossroads, will launch ads against Democratic Reps. Jim Costa (Calif.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Russ Carnahan (Mo.), Earl Pomeroy (N.D.), Lincoln Davis (Tenn.), John Boccieri (Ohio) and Ciro Rodriguez (Texas).

The ads are a mix of district-specific and generic; the Hinchey commercial, for example, features audio of Hinchey telling a reporter to "shut up" and that he is "full of baloney".

The National Republican Congressional Committee has been on television for several weeks in eight of the districts -- Hawaii's 1st, Georgia's 2nd, New York's 20th, Indiana's 2nd, North Dakota's at large seat, Tennessee's 4th, Ohio's 16th and Texas 23rd -- and so the Crossroads spending is a sign that GOP strategists are doubling down.

"With these buys we're opening up the field well beyond the battleground lost in 2006 and 2008, to some districts that haven't been competitive since the 1990s," said American Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio. "These opportunities are only possible because [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi and [President Barack] Obama made House Democrats walk the plank on so many far-left votes over the past 20 months."

Of the dozen districts being targeted by American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, eight were carried by President Obama in 2008 including three -- Hawaii's 1st, California's 20th and Missouri's 3rd -- where he won better than 60 percent.

The Los Angeles Times reports that conservative and Republican groups lack the coordination that we see on the:

American Crossroads, a tax-exempt group receiving contributions from corporations and wealthy individuals, is putting its ground-game resources to use in nine battleground states. It plans to send more than 100 volunteers to Colorado and Nevada, said Steven Law, the organization's president.

Crossroads will generate 9 million phone calls and 5 million pieces of mail before election day, Law said.

More important, Crossroads has encouraged other conservative groups to share voter contact lists, polling information and geographic priorities, as Democrats have in recent years.

"We wanted to be a resource for exchanging lists of names and voter targeting information," Law said.

Although some conservative groups — such as the Republican Governors Assn. and Americans for Tax Reform — have cooperated with Crossroads, others resist being too closely associated with establishment figures.

FreedomWorks, a Washington-based group that has supported tea party activists across the country, expects to spend $500,000 on its own program that taps into the network of tea party supporters.

Brendan Steinhauser, director of state and federal campaigns at FreedomWorks, said the distance from the party was an advantage in recruiting new activists.

"A lot of people don't want to work with the Republican Party, for the most part," he said. "They like the candidate, but they don't want to go to GOP headquarters. They'll work with us."

Jake Tapper reports:

Crossroads’ Jonathan Collegio Monday afternoon sent out a link to a new TV ad from AFSCME against Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle.

The ad features various “voters” describing some of Angle’s positions “as just too extreme and dangerous,” including an excerpt -- during her now famous discussion of rape victims -- of how she counseled some very young pregnant girls to have their children, or to make “what was really a lemon situation into lemonade.”

Wrote Collegio: “A number of commentators made the case over the weekend that unions like AFSCME are different from groups like American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, because the voting public knows what AFSCME is and what the group stands for.”

“A couple of thoughts here,” he wrote. “First off, no one knows what AFSCME is. Less than 60% of Americans can name Joe Biden as vice president. The average American who sees an AFSCME ad has no idea they’re the ‘big dog’ government employees union. Second, note that AFSCME’s ad has nothing to do with a single issue on their platform.” (Italics his.)

“No one could possibly know from watching that ad that it was funded by a bureaucrats union whose goal is to raise taxes and expand government,” Collegio wrote. “The outrage over spending by GOP-leaning outside groups is a political ploy, selective in its focus and hypocritical in its messaging.”