POLITICAL INSIDER: Conservative family group goes after 5 Democrats in ads

By Philip Elliott, AP
Thursday, October 7, 2010

POLITICAL INSIDER: Conservative group airs ads

WASHINGTON — A conservative organization is running ads against five incumbent House Democrats, saying voters need to stop them from expanding the size of government.

Reps. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, Betsy Markey of Colorado, Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire, John Boccieri of Ohio and Tom Perriello of Virginia are the Family Research Council’s targets. All are considered vulnerable and top incumbents for Democrats to defend.

“I woke up one morning and it was there — big government on my back,” says an actor who has another hanging from his frame. “It’s a huge problem. It’s affecting everyone.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — An insider’s view of this year’s elections based on reports from around the nation.

As the first man goes about his business, the man representing government hangs on his back, taking dollar bills from him.

“They’re taking over our health care, using our money to bail out big business,” the first man laments.

The Family Research Council says it will spend a combined $125,000 — a relatively modest buy — on the two-week ad campaign in the five districts.

Unsuccessful Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff of Colorado has landed a job at an anti-poverty group that helps farmers in developing countries.

The Democrat tells The Denver Post that he’ll work for Lakewood-based International Development Enterprises, where he’ll travel frequently.

The former state House speaker turned down being considered for jobs with the Obama administration if he would have agreed not to challenge Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in a primary. Romanoff declined and lost to the rookie senator who was appointed to fill the balance of Ken Salazar’s term.

President Barack Obama appointed Salazar his interior secretary and endorsed Bennet early.

Since losing the primary, Romanoff has toured Colorado campaigning for his former rival and held fundraisers to retire his own campaign debt.

Former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to campaign for Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway.

Former state Democratic Chairman Jerry Lundergan said Wednesday that the details regarding Clinton’s visit are still being worked out. Conway’s campaign could not immediately confirm the visit.

Clinton carried Kentucky twice in serving two terms in the White House, and his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, trounced Obama during Kentucky’s Democratic presidential primary in the spring of 2008.

Conway is running against Republican Rand Paul for the seat of GOP Sen. Jim Bunning, who is retiring.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is hitting Democratic Senate hopeful Richard Blumenthal as a “sue-first-and-ask-questions-later” attorney general.

In an ad that started running on Connecticut television stations Wednesday, the business group says Blumenthal has been “crushing Connecticut small businesses for years with thousands of frivolous lawsuits.” The ad says Blumenthal’s tenure as attorney general has forced some of those companies to go out of business while under investigation.

“His job-killing lawsuits are hurting Connecticut families,” the ad’s announcer says.

Blumenthal is in a tight contest with Republican Linda McMahon, a former professional wrestling executive who has spent heavily from her personal fortune on the campaign. While Blumenthal appears to be leading McMahon, polls show her gaining on him.

The pair is competing for the open seat Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd is vacating with his retirement.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is also going after Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold, fighting a tough re-election battle in Wisconsin.

In a 30-second television ad that started running Wednesday, an announcer laments that “Russ always said he’d change Washington. Looks like Washington changed him.”

The ad cites his votes for Obama’s health care overhaul, increasing U.S. debt limits and allowing politicians to spend freely.

“What happened to Russ Feingold? He used to stand up to Washington politicians,” the announcer says. “These days, he stands with them.”

Feingold, seeking a fourth term, has run into trouble in his campaign against newcomer Republican Ron Johnson.

Quick hits:

— The Illinois Federation of Teachers has endorsed Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, calling his Republican opponent “toxic” for public education. The 103,000-member union pledged Wednesday to support Quinn in his race against GOP state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington by providing both money and manpower for the election.

— Pennsylvania’s largest police union is backing Republican gubernatorial hopeful Tom Corbett, the state’s current attorney general. The Pennsylvania State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association, the Pennsylvania Police Chiefs Association and the Pennsylvania Corrections Officers Association announced the endorsements Wednesday in Pittsburgh. Corbett faces Democrat Dan Onorato.

— The second debate of Washington state’s U.S. Senate campaign has been set. Democratic incumbent Patty Murray and Republican challenger Dino Rossi have scheduled their final debate for Oct. 17 in Seattle.

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