The National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) is finally putting its money where its mouth has been. A round of radio ads targeting 30 Democrats in conservative or swing districts began airing Friday — among the targets were freshman Rep. Betsy Markey and third-term Rep. John Salazar of Colorado — who plan to vote in favor of the $790 billion economic stimulus package.
The 60-second radio ads blast Markey and Salazar “for supporting a trillion-dollar spending bill chock full of wasteful Washington spending instead of working across the aisle to create real jobs for struggling middle-class families,” according to an NRCC release. Both ads say the Democrats promised to be frugal — quoting a newspaper column by Salazar and Markey campaign ads — and then list what has become a standard Republican litany: that the bill is “packed with pork: $75 million for smoking cessation, $50 million for the National Endowment of the Arts, $335 million to treat sexually transmitted diseases, and $600 million for government employees’ vehicles.”
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has been running radio ads against 28 Republicans who opposed the stimulus bill since last week.
The NRCC attacks jump the gun by a hair — neither Markey nor Salazar, nor any House Democrat, for that matter, had voted for the stimulus bill by the time the ads started running. The House is expected to vote on the bill Friday, “after a 24-hour delay caused by late, lingering controversy,” The Associated Press reports, and the Senate could finish passing the bill later on Friday or over the weekend. Both Markey and Salazar voted for the House version of the bill last week.
The two Colorado Democrats — whose 3rd and 4th districts cover most of the state outside the Front Range — have more in common than being targets of the NRCC. Markey and Salazar share identical voting records in Congress so far, except for a handful of votes where one was absent, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel’s Mike Saccone points out.
Markey and Salazar are also the only Colorado Democrats representing districts carried — if only by a few points — by John McCain in the 2008 election. Matthew Reichbach finds some common traits among targeted Democrats — they all hail from congressional districts that have been friendly to Republicans in recent years — at our sister site, the New Mexico Independent.
Here’s the complete list of Democrats hit with NRCC stimulus ads, from The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder:
John Barrow (GA-12); Bruce Braley (IA-01); Chris Carney (PA-10); Travis Childers (MS-01); Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-03); Steve Driehaus (OH-01); Chet Edwards (TX-17); Bart Gordon (TN-06); Alan Grayson (FL-08); John Hall (NY-19); Steve Kagen (WI-08); Mary Jo Kilroy (OH-15); Larry Kissell (NC-08); Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24); Dan Maffei (NY-25); Betsy Markey (CO-04); Eric Massa (NY-29); Jerry McNerney (CA-11); Charlie Melancon (LA-03); Dennis Moore (KS-03); Glenn Nye (VA-02); John Salazar (CO-03); Mark Schauer (MI-07); Kurt Schrader (OR-05); Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01); Ike Skelton (MO-04); Zack Space (OH-18); Harry Teague (NM-02); Dina Titus (NV-03) and Tim Walz (MN-01).