Where’s the money, wealthy liberals?


The Washington Post’s Matea Gold had a good story this week documenting just how much money Americans for Prosperity, backed by the billionaire Koch brothers, is pumping into ads hammering vulnerable Democrats over Obamacare.

There’s a three-week ad blitz that started Wednesday against Sen. Mark Pryor, Ark. Sens. Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire are being hit by ads featuring women “speaking in personal terms” about their worries over the Affordable Care Act. Even Democratic Senate candidates who aren’t incumbents but are running in states that will be tough for Republicans – such as Bruce Braley in Iowa and Gary Peters in Michigan – are getting hit with hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of ads.

Gold reported: “As of this week, Americans for Prosperity has spent more than $27 million on ads since August, putting it on pace to far outstrip its overall $38.5 million budget for the 2010 midterms.”

And it’s only February. So where’s the response from Democratic groups and wealthy Democratic donors?

The main outside group counterbalancing Americans for Prosperity is the Senate Majority PAC. Ty Matsdorf, a spokesman for the group, was quoted by Gold as saying: “It’s unprecedented. It means that groups like ours have to go up early as well. We can’t let those attacks go unchallenged.”

What that really means is: Where’s the money, wealthy liberals?

Someone familiar with ad-buy information collected by the Senate Majority PAC told me that, as of Wednesday, Americans for Prosperity had spent more than $1.7 million so far on ads against Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. Meanwhile, the Senate Majority PAC had spent less than $650,000.

In North Carolina, I was told, Americans for Prosperity had spent a staggering $7.2 million against Hagan as of Wednesday, vs. only $1.4 million by the Senate Majority PAC.

Those lopsided imbalances are going to get a lot worse. Democrats expect the Koch network to spend as much as $200 million this cycle.

Democrats say privately that the money from the left just isn’t there yet. If it were, groups such as the Senate Majority PAC, Emily’s List and the League of Conservation Voters (which has an ad hitting Scott Brown in New Hampshire) would be spending much more to match Americans for Prosperity’s spending in these races.

Excerpted from washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line

© 2014, The Washington Post

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