Americans for Prosperity launches Obamacare blitz
By: Burgess Everett
January 2, 2014 09:00 AM EST
The deep-pocketed Americans for Prosperity on Thursday morning unveiled a major Obamacare air offensive against three Democratic senators up for reelection in November.
The group will begin airing 30-second ads this week targeting Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire. The total ad buy is north of $2.5 million and the spots will run for three weeks in each state’s major media markets, AFP said.
Holding all three seats in 2014 is seen as a critical to Democrats’ quest to keep their Senate majority and fend off Republican attacks linking congressional Democrats to Obamacare’s long-running implementation woes. GOP leaders and conservative groups are seeking to make the congressional midterm election yet another referendum on Obamacare as they try to topple vulnerable incumbents like Hagan and Landrieu.
The Landrieu spot ties the Louisiana senator to President Barack Obama’s rhetoric about Americans being able to keep their health care plans under the Affordable Care Act, while the Hagan ad quotes Sheila Salter of North Carolina saying Hagan “just doesn’t get it.”
Salter should look familiar to both Hagan and Landrieu: She appeared before the Senate Small Business Committee in 2013 to rip Obamacare for raising her business’s health care costs. Landrieu is the chairwoman of that panel and Hagan is a member of the committee.
In 2013, AFP spent millions on ads targeting Landrieu and Hagan and in 2014 is including Shaheen in its barrage, airing a spot this week that twice quotes the New Hampshire Democrat saying “you can keep your insurance if you like it.”
While the air support in New Hampshire, North Carolina and Louisiana will be beneficial for Republicans taking on the three incumbent senators, AFP’s big spending is also being used as a tool to drive Democratic fundraising. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee arm sent out a flurry of fundraising emails as 2013 wound down warning about the spending of groups like AFP, which is backed by the conservative billionaire Koch brothers.
“The Koch brothers and their friends thought that they could blanket deadlocked Senate battlegrounds with scathing attacks ads and get away with it. You’re about to prove them dead wrong,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in a DSCC fundraising email on New Year’s Eve.