The billionaire-Koch Brothers-funded group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is unleashing a massive ad buy slamming Senator Claire McCaskill.
The libertarian organization takes aim at the Missouri’s Democrat’s opposition to the Republican tax plan that went into effect last month.
It’s spending $1.8 million to air a 30-second TV and digital ad that starts off with a color visual of the St. Louis arch and an upbeat message from a female announcer who says, “Tax reform is sweeping across Missouri. Small businesses are growing. Paychecks are going up. Families are saving more for what matters. Missouri pride is back.”
The ad then slips into dark, black and white still shots of McCaskill and Democratic Congressional leaders as the announcer accuses her of backing out on a promise to support tax cuts for working Missourians, saying McCaskill stood with Chuck Schumer (Senate Democratic leader) and Nancy Pelosi (House Democratic leader). It ends with the announcer instructing viewers to, “Tell Senator McCaskill to put Missouri jobs first”.
The former state auditor is running for a third Senate term in a state President Donald Trump won by 19 points. McCaskill is known as a moderate Democrat. She said she was open to cutting taxes during congressional debate over the policy last year.
McCaskill ended up voting with every other Senate Democrat against the Republican plan, contending it was heavily weighted toward the wealthy and would leave the country with huge deficits.
McCaskill’s campaign released a “fact check” response to the TV ad Tuesday which outlined her attempt to forge a bipartisan tax proposal. It said, “(McCaskill) met with President Trump, Jared Kushner, and Ivanka Trump, and offered amendments during the markup process on the bill– but despite big talk from Republicans, Claire’s attempts at bipartisanship were completely rebuffed”.
In a conference call with reporters this week, McCaskill also defended what she called her efforts to reach across the aisle over tax legislation. “I said over and over again in every way I could, I want to work, here is a tax bill I can support,” said McCaskill.
The one-time state auditor is one the top funded Senate candidates of either party heading into this year’s elections. The former Jackson County Prosecutor has $9.1 million on hand according to the Federal Ethics Commission, while the Republican candidate favored to oppose her, state Attorney General Josh Hawley, has $1.2 million.
But the TV ad from Americans for Prosperity falls in line with the thinking of national Republicans, who are targeting McCaskill as one of the most vulnerable Democrats who can be picked off in 2018.
Two Washington D.C. based organizations that track elections, the Cook Political Report and Inside Elections with Nathan Gonzales, have rated the Missouri Senate race as a toss-up.
A survey released last month by the Democratic-affiliated firm Public Policy Polling showed McCaskill with a razor-tight 45%-to-44% lead over Hawley. Another poll from the Missouri based, Republican-affiliated firm Remington Research showed Hawley with a 49%-to-45% advantage.
The Americans for Prosperity ad targeting McCaskill starts Thursday and will run for three-weeks on Missouri TV. View the ad here.